11 June 2009

2009 International Climate Calendar: Diversions in the Road to Copenhagen

The Pew Center has produced a useful overview of the major events in the negotiations for a global climate treaty between now and Copenhagen. It is worth comparing with this earlier effort:

Although it was not the point of the Pew Center´s exercise, this clearly shows how the formal UN climate talks going sit within a larger structure of inter-governmental meetings driven by the major industrialised countries - with the Major Economies Forum, initiated by George Bush and revived by Barack Obama, taking an increasingly crucial role. This, in turn, overlaps with the G8.

One of the notable facts about the "one bracket and comma at a time" snore-fest that is the Bonn climate negotiations is how the US lead negotiator Todd Stern skipped the session to go to China instead, with senior negotiators from there held back too. This is a fairly transparent divide and rule game, which aims to isolate China from the rest of the G77, the grouping of developing nations - thereby decreasing their influence. It also plays to a domestic audience, where the US government is setting up to blame China for failures in the climate talks, despite the massive historical and present gap between the two countries when it comes to their contribution to climate change.

Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists had this to say about the record: "The G8 summit before Kyoto was when President Clinton redoubled US efforts on Kyoto which led ultimately to Al Gore coming to Kyoto to help negotiate a final deal." And we all know how that worked out.

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