Progress slow, frustrations surface
Business and industry NGOs attending the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen expressed extreme frustration today at the slow and seemingly confusing pace of progress towards a new, strengthened post-Kyoto agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
At a morning briefing, the non-governmental observers shared stories of negotiating texts being continually changed between meetings and with critical issues being added or dropped from various documents. They were repeatedly told that some of the texts were heavily bracketed, meaning that some of the key issues could also be included or dropped in the future.
“It’s going to be a very, very slow process over the next few days,” said one business representative, adding many NGOs feel their messages and concerns are simply not being met.
Another representative said he had heard a negotiator saying that “we go nowhere each time we meet.”
NGOs attending the briefing were told that as the negotiating process shifts to the ministerial level today politicians will still have far too many unresolved issues to address by Friday when the conference is scheduled to end.
Rémi Gruet said later in an interview that many negotiators are asking for more time before documents go to ministers.
“The game they have been playing over the last few days is a delaying game with each of them bringing back old issues which have been sorted out already to avoid dealing with tackling the remaining major issues,” said Gruet, the climate change advisor for the European Wind Energy Association.
Gruet said it is now clear that political involvement is necessary in order to reach a new agreement that deals with rapidly reducing destructive greenhouse gas emissions caused by burning fossil fuels.
“I don’t see how [the negotiators] would achieve in one more day what they have failed to achieve over the past two years.”