Dispatches from Copenhagen – Talks Extended

Simeon Talley, Blue Planet Green Living contributing writer and University of Iowa student, was selected by the Iowa United Nations Association to attend COP15 this week. This is Talley’s fourth report in the series, a late-breaking update. For background information about Talley’s trip, visit his own blog, The Road to Copenhagen. — Julia Wasson, Publisher


So much has happened, while so little real progress has been made.

Obama’s speech essentially reiterated the US’s already stated position: mitigation commitments by all major economies, transparency by both developing and developed countries alike, and US commitment of $10 billion in the short term/$100 billion in the long-term by 2020 for climate finance.

The US president didn’t say anything new. The 17% number has not moved, and he didn’t specify what the US contribution would be to the climate finance fund. But, in talking with journalists and delegates from developing countries, that’s exactly what they had hoped to hear. The speech is being interpreted as “take it or leave it,” which may play well with the domestic audience, but has not gone over well here.

The speech was primarily directed at the Chinese. After his speech, President Obama met with Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao; no word yet on the outcome.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon just requested to extend the conference into the weekend. This could mean one of two things: We are close to an agreement, but leaders need some more time; or not enough progress has been made on the last day.

This meeting with 193 representatives from each country and over 100 heads of state in attendance is becoming a bi-lateral meeting between China and the US. For all we know right now, the Chinese have not agreed to the American proposal.

A draft text that was leaked early this morning shows how far from consensus countries really are. Very, very troubling.

It’s late afternoon here in Copenhagen. There was a scheduled signing ceremony for 3 pm; but everyone is still waiting, still guessing as to what will happen. Pessimism is growing.

The scene inside the Bella Center is frenetic. Hundreds of journalists are all trying to piece this puzzle together. You find TV cameras stalked outside meeting rooms, where they don’t know who’s inside, but whomever they are, they want that quintessential shot.

More to come, as events continue to unfold …

Simeon Talley

Contributing Writer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

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