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Introducing the G-77 (and China)

June 5, 2009

I’m sitting in the balcony of plenary 1. That’s the big room in which we actually have a shot at a seat. In plenary 2, we usually sit on the floor next to the water cooler in front of Ghana. Taylor and I have been taking turns charging our laptop from the one electrical socket that wasn’t taken by other observers. All the grey sockets work, the green ones don’t. We sarcastically call the green ones “renewable energy sockets”. We imagine they’ll come online after the delegates come to an agreement.


I just finished listening to Barbados align itself with the lengthy statement made by the Philippines on behalf of the G-77 and China. The G-77 is a UN alliance of “developing” countries formed in 1964 (more information here). It’s still called the G-77 even though 130 countries have now joined. I haven’t figured out why China is named separately in every introduction , as they are only one of 130 countries in the group. Maybe its the G-77’s way of saying “WE GOT CHINA,” in the same way NBA games are often advertised as “Lebron James and the Cavaliers,” rather than just “the Cavaliers.”

The main discussion of today’s plenary is the financing section of the negotiating text. The negotiating text is a suprisingly short 53 pages, nothing compared to the 600-page monsters that Congress regularly cranks out. But every word must be looked at closely, especially when we’re talking cash.  I am not familiar enough with the text to follow every section the G-77 proposed to change in their speech, but I do know that a central divide between developed countries and developing countries is how responsibility for mitigation (reducing GHG emissions) and adaption (everything from placing climate refugees to building stronger levees) will be divided. Developing countries often highlight “historic responsibility”– the concept that some developed countries have emitted hundreds if not thousands times more GHGs than some developing countries and are therefore more responsible for damages than developed countries.

Realizing the self-interest involved, I assume that countries like China would lean heavily on historic responsibility, whereas the U.S. would emphasize current and future emissions projections.

How many people have heard of Tuvalu? They’re speaking now. I need to look at a map. . .

plenary I


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mike permalink
    June 6, 2009 4:02 am

    I came across Tuvalu in my research . . . it will probably be the first country to be totally destroyed by climate change. I guess its not surprising that the small island nations are the only ones that REALLY have a sense of urgency.


  2. abaratta permalink
    June 6, 2009 10:51 pm

    Yeah they are in a coalition of small island states ( I met a woman from Bangladash who is here to represent her country. I don’t know if this makes sense, but it was awkward meeting her. In front of me was someone for who rising seal levels is real right here right now, and for me it’s not at all. I felt guilty.


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