Monday, December 14, 2009

Q&A with COP coChair

I just got out of a short (about 1/2 hour) question and answer session between the CoChair of COP and the NGOs. I think this session was scheduled to try to appease the NGOs since a lot of the open informal groups have been canceled. She opened the session by stressing the need for NGOs to continue to put the pressure on the parties in order to come to an agreement. When asked what her hope was that we would come to a outcome with all the procedural problems that they have been having she said that that was the way COP runs, but she had a strong hope that they would come to an agreement by Friday. She was asked if she thought that there would be a two track agreement or one agreement and she thinks there will be one package with two tracks that will include KP, LCA, and underlying COP decisions. One NGO observer expressed a concern that with the Heads of State arriving starting tomorrow how an agreement is going to be reached. She responded that it was a challenge to get everyone to commit. Right now she thinks the two possible outcomes are that we have an agreement on all the elements or a clear mandate on when it can be transferred to a legally binding commitment. She thinks this should be in the near future no later than ext year. In follow-up to that that someone asked if we do not come to an agreement if they will extend the conference or have a follow-up conference in order to finish up. She again stated that the NGOs should not ease the pressure. If we postpone the conference it will not be any easier to achieve an outcome. She singled out the U.S. saying that there was always going to be an excuse why the U.S. will not sign on. She thinks the best way for there to be an agreement is by keeping the pressure on now. It was asked if there was any talk of a carbon taxation and the answer was it is being discussed in the working groups but it was difficult to do in hard financial times. She thinks that it may be done in other was such as a aviation levy. The last question was if she thought there was going to be a merging of the two tracks. She said that they were going to remain separate and that that was always the intention, and that there were a lot of false rumors going around. She ended by stressing the need for the parties to get out of the procedural discussion and start to work seriously on the issues. She said there is more at stake than just climate, such as sustainability.

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