UN climate chief says his Christmas list has not changed
UN climate chief Yvo De Boer told press today that the climate negotiations which he had been characterizing all week in cable car terms (stopped, going, ect), had turned into a roller coaster. He said the Copenhagen Accord was "embraced" by the conference this morning. And that the Accord was a “letter of intent, a willingness to move forward." He later clarified that the conference had "taken note" of the Accord, which "is a way of recognizing that something is there but not going so far as to directly associate yourself with it." Yvo also emphasized that his sense was that almost everybody would sign up to the Accord.
Asked if Copenhagen proved you can't have a legally binding process within the UN, Yvo replied: "Inside a UN setting we have have built [with this Accord] the kernel of a long-term, response to climate change."
"You could argue it is better to address climate change within the G20. It works from an emissions point of view, but it does not work from an equity point of view of who is affected. Part of the reason why people went to the trouble of inventing the UN was so that when we address concerns, like climate change, we take everyone into account."
Yvo said, "I spent about 10 hours yesterday in a small room with President Obama, Sarkozy, Merkel, Calderon, and another 20 heads of state who were into the nitty gritty of drafting the final text of the Copenhagen Accord."
Yvo said that as a result of Copenhagen, developed countries now better appreciate that the vast majority of developing countries have no intention of letting go of the Kyoto Protocol, and consequently the need for two tracks going forward (Kyoto, and another one for the U.S. who was not party to Kyoto).
One thing Yvo did not mention was that all the countries who sign up to the Accord will have to put down on paper as part of the Accord their mitigation targets or actions in the case of developing countries--which is pretty significant for developing countries.
Obama also managed to escape Copenhagen without doing anything to give unhelpful US Senators excuses to feel like they are being dictated to by the international community. The upshot of this will make it easier for John Kerry to deliver on his guarantee of passing climate legislation in 2010, but as China only came around half way on transparency, this legislation is almost sure to contain border measures to apply carbon tariffs to Chinese imports and other major economies that shirk transparent carbon standards.
Yvo said his Christmas list of two years ago has not changed as a result of Copenhagen. At the top of the list in time for Mexico next year is a legally binding treaty that will keep emissions to levels consistent with holding temperature increases to 2 degrees C.