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World saved- knot!!

November 25, 2009

For a full explanation of the terrible pun, you need to read this short but pretty damn good analysis of the post-Barcelona, pre-Copenhagen set up, by the rather cool IISD

Untying Copenhagen’s “Gordian Knot

Attending the Barcelona climate talks earlier this month reminded me of the legendary Gordian Knot. According to the ancient Greeks, the Gordian Knot was a large rope wrapped around a post so many times it was impossible to unravel. So complex was the knot that it was not even possible to find the ends of the rope or start untying it. Legend told that the person who freed the knot and solved the puzzle would eventually unite the world.

With the AWG-KP and AWG-LCA in full negotiating mode, delegates in Barcelona worked diligently trying to untangle the many individual strands of the climate puzzle, from mitigation to adaptation, financing to technology transfer. But for all the discussions and attempts at compromise, the meeting concluded with the diplomatic knot still firmly tied. Negotiators remain in a bind on various key issues, including the level of industrialized countries’ commitments, the amount and source of support for developing country actions, and how to link the two negotiating tracks. In the back of everyone’s minds is the fact that all of the issues are intertwined – unless each and every issue is solved, the whole agreement could be held up. Because some reciprocal concessions may rely on negotiating text that is under discussion in different contact groups, delegates will face an intricate task during the end game as they attempt to untangle the areas of disagreement.

Is Copenhagen Dead?
The week after Barcelona seemed to suggest a surge of pessimism about Copenhagen. During an early morning meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, US President Barack Obama and others were reported to have agreed to postpone their efforts to fashion a final deal in Copenhagen. According to various media sources, the leaders agreed that a legally-binding deal would not be feasible, and decided to set their sights on the less lofty goal of a “political agreement.” The implication was that a more detailed, legally-binding deal may come later, probably in 2010.

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