As has become the usual practice at the UN climate summits, COP 19 in Warsaw has gone past its Friday closing time and is now in overtime.
This year’s talks became bogged down by a series of challenges.
Russia raised fundamental issues of procedural fairness — little things like the UN not recognizing nations seeking to speak or permitting them to vote.
Then 132 poor nations walked out to pressure industrialized nations to accept legal liability for “loss and damage” they suffer as a result of natural disasters, though science cannot show a meaningful causal relationship between natural disasters and global warming.
In a truly bizarre twist, hundreds of members of far-left enviro NGOs walked out of the talks to express their frustration when the UNFCCC did not immediately cave in to their demands to fund loss and damage and a host of other redistributive schemes. They also found sponsorship of the COP by charitable gifts from industry and the presence of business representatives in the proceedings to be intolerable — that they themselves are tolerated in the proceedings under the same rules is quite conveniently beyond their ken.
All that Sturm und Drang left the climate talks way behind schedule.
Negotiators did emerge from behind closed doors to announce that they had an agreement in hand to finalize the UN’s REDD scheme. If you’ve been dreaming of becoming a billionaire by selling carbon offsets from third world forests that will have no meaningful effect on world temperatures, your moment has come.
With most negotiating tracks way behind schedule, the Obama administration tried to ride to the rescue. U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern announced that for the first time the U.S. now supports all nations declaring their targets for reducing CO2 emissions before 2015. This would clear the path for the UN to adopt a full climate treaty and successor to the Kyoto Protocol in Paris in 2015, while Obama is still in office.
E.U. climate chief Connie Hedegaard has been trying to get the U.S. on board for years. Stern’s announcement gave her something with which to encourage the delegates that their climate treaty of Paris remains in sight. However, major stumbling blocks remain. Developing nations remain simultaneously reluctant to reduce their own emissions and adamant that they want immediate funding for both the Green Climate Fund and Loss and Damage.
As the talks enter their final hours, how big a bribe can Hedegaard and the industrial world come up with to get developing nations to agree to a COP 19 outcome? Alternatively, will developing nations defer their global warming distribution dreams to at last have the U.S. on board?
Whose money after all do you think it is that they are so eager to redistribute?