For all the people who dared to dream that some kind of deal could be realised at Copenhagen comes the cold reality that time is basically running out. Fast. And there is less than sixty days to go.
The Bangkok talks have ended in failure. The gap between what is needed and what the current negotiationing positions are is as wide as ever. The deadlock remains in place, as tight as ever. And in fact could be getting worse.
There is one more session of UN talks before Copenhagen, at Barcelona, in November but without some unforeseen and radical breakthrough at the moment they looked doomed to failure. And so does Copenhagen.
The talks finished without any agreement on emission targets for the rich countries and financing for poor nations. The UN climate chief Yvo de Boer now says the failure by rich countries to agree on ambitious emission cuts and billions of dollars in financing to help poor countries has actually increased the distrust between the two sides.
“We are not seeing an advance on the key political issues,” he said. “The stark reality out there is that unless we see an advance on the key political issues, it is very difficult for negotiators in this process to continue their work in good faith.”
There still seems to be no consensus as to how to limit temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Of the industrialised countries only Norway offered anything new in Bangkok, saying it would reduce emissions by 40 per cent, up from 30 per cent.
All the commitments by other countries remains woefully inadequate.
Both the EU and America look to be trying to abandon Kyoto, something the developing nations find totally unacceptable.
“The EU and others are moving to somehow kill the Kyoto Protocol, something that we could not accept as G77, as developing countries,” Mohammad Al Sabban, Saudi Arabia’s lead negotiator, has said
“An attempt to replace the Kyoto Protocol with a new framework would be counterproductive,” added Lumumba Di-Aping, a Sudanese negotiator who speaks on behalf of the G-77. “What needs to happen is that those who are committed, the European Union, Australia, Japan, the rest of developed countries, need to rise up to the challenge rather than race to the bottom with the United States.”
And at the moment, everyone is rapidly heading down-hill, led by the US, and this time with Obama at the helm rather than Bush..