Good COP, Bad COP

Political deal vs Binding treaty – achieving a successful outcome at COP15
by -- December 10th, 2009

One of the key questions at this point in the negotiations is whether a political deal would be seen as a success. The answer could depend on whether there are significant aspects that would be immediately operational rather than requiring additional negotiations.

It is no secret that COP15 negotiators are seeking a political deal that they can build on in future negotiations rather than a legally binding treaty in the next two weeks.  One of the key questions at this point in the negotiations is whether a political deal would be seen as a success.  The answer could depend on whether there are significant aspects that would be immediately operational rather than requiring additional negotiations.  Examples of operational elements could include:

 

  • An agreement on the structure of a REDD program (Brazil is apparently softening its position and is now playing a constructive role);
  • Commitments of climate-related financing for developing countries and potentially a structure for delivering the aid; and
  • Emission reduction targets that countries could enact into law (or at least begin the process) before the next round of negotiations.

 

The U.S. will pay close attention to that last point in particular.  If countries do not codify their commitments, it could hinder future negotiations.

 

A couple of other observations:

 

  • There will likely be a contentious debate over the next few days about intellectual property issues.
  • There are a lot of side events about the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), but the negotiations are likely to stay on a high level and any agreement is not likely to address the CDM structure specifically.

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