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Meet Julio _______, I did not catch his last name

June 8, 2009

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We took yesterday off from talking about blog posts and clean development mechanisms to sleep and take a trip to Cologne. It was a really nice break, and seeing the cathedral was simply breath-taking. But now it’s back to business.

Around 2:00 I started wandering around the Maritim, looking for a delegate who wasn’t walking too fast for me to ask them how they thought negotiations were going. It’s a tricky process. You can distinguish delegates by the pink stripe at the bottom of their nametags, but it is very difficult to see their name and what country they are from. This brings me to a Copenhagen Questions media team  blunder. I only wrote down the first name of the man I interviewed today. And he’s not on the delegate list because he arrived today. Dangit.

I found Julio _____  standing at a table in the dining area and eating a chicken salad sandwich. After getting his permission to interview him for the blog, I asked him who he was representing. He first said “the European Union,” hinting that he was committed to staying within the agreements made collectively by the Union. He then told me he was from Portugal. He also added that anything he said was his own opinion and not representative of the European Union or Portugal. This of course does not matter because neither you or I know he is.

I didn’t have anything prepared, and he answered my first vague questions with equally vague answers. “The negotiations will continue and we hope to have good results.” Not exactly blog worthy. But then I asked him what he thought had to be negotiated before Copenhagen in order for a successful treaty to be signed. “For example, do the 2 tracks need to be merged?”

Mr. _____  turned the question back upon me, asking why I thought that would be necessary. This was an interesting twist to the interview. As I’ve mentioned before, there are two tracks at these conferences, one under the Kyoto protocol, and the other for long-term action. The United States  is in the long term action track but can only observe the Kyoto track because they are not committed to the Kyoto Protocol.

It always made sense to me that merging the tracks would make everything much simpler. Mr. ____ told me that although this was true, developing countries will hold out on this merger until they are more pleased with the negotiations. He agreed with my assessment that in some ways the Kyoto protocol track is a bargaining chip. If developing countries were to merge right away, then developed countries like the U.S. could bully them into following what they wanted more easily than having to navigate the two tracks.

Julio ____ did not believe that countries would be ready for the merger by Copenhagen. I will do more research to clarify my views, but I hope he’s wrong. This would mean that a considerable amount of time will still be devoted to debating structure of tracks rather than finance mechanisms and reduction targets. And the ability of the world to commit to an effective, binding treaty intuitively seems crippled when the countries are split into tracks. If five friends and I want to decide whether to go to Outback Steakhouse or Max and Erma’s, we talk about it together and decide. We do not have three of us recruit a friend, send them to another room to discuss it for a few years, then compare their results with ours and try to reconcile the difference in opinions.

Picture 2

-Anthony

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Matt Cecil permalink
    August 12, 2009 12:28 pm

    That’s the best scientific diagram I’ve ever seen.

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