The view from the inside… lifeless and slow

It has been a strange day in the Bella centre… eerily quiet. The main hall is now a sea of unbroken black suits and subdued whispers, where previously it was dominated by the noise and colour brought by civil society. After yesterday’s protests, only 300 NGO passes were made available for today’s activities. This was an improvement on yesterday’s plan, which was that no NGOs would be admitted. Yvo de Boer is well aware that this means there is now essentially no civil oversight of COP activities, which makes a mockery of the UNFCCC’s objectives of transparency and civil society oversight, but says his hands are tied. Apparently he was told by his head of security that this was the only way to ensure the safety of the insane number of heads of state present. Still, this really can’t set a precedent.

We reached another stalemate as of this morning. G77 were furious over rumors circulating that there was an alternative “President’s” version of the texts, separate from those prepared by AWG-KP and AWG-LCA (but no delegations or individuals to whom I have spoken will acknowledge having read any such texts or seen them). This resulted in another morning of delays as trust was obliterated, and countries panicked that the two weeks (read: two years) of negotiations would be sidelined in an alternative, non-open and non-transparent process. We are finally in a meeting reestablishing negotiations (it is 2:30), after an additional COP/MOP meeting was called to establish new contact groups to continue negotiations. The contact groups (who haven’t started negotiating yet) are convening later this afternoon (hopeful…) to report progress.

As always, there is little doubt that the real deals are happening all around, in the back rooms – it feels almost as though these contact groups are a smoke screen, designed to distract G77. And things are getting quite interesting, take for example a recent announcement by Hilary Clinton that she is prepared to support $100 billion climate funding by 2020 – this really changes things, and will most likely be used to get smaller nations to pressure China into making some fairly serious concessions, most likely on developing country mitigation efforts.

Will keep updating as the afternoon progresses.