On, off, on, and off again…

Lots of drama in the main plenary! I have to admit I’m a bit lost in it all. Yesterday, the small island nation of Tuvalu stuck its neck out demanding a contact group to sort out the legal future of the Kyoto Protocol. Many countries supported them, others objected. The chair suspended those talks until a solution could be reached. There was an impromptu demonstration in the hallway to support the Tuvalu proposal.

And today, there was another sparring match between a similar set of countries. Tuvalu proposed a formal contact group again to deal with a specific set of issues. While some contries (including China) opposed the contact group, Tuvalu held its ground, prompting a back forth sparring session. Sweden (speaking on behalf of the European Union) stayed neutral, deferring to the chair’s judgement. Who knows what will happen next. For now, the talks are suspended. The issues at hand are pretty complex, as there are currently at least 12 different proposals on top of Tuvalu’s.

That means both the Kyoto (CMP) and non-Kyoto(COP) tracks are suspended. Unbelievable.

And no word from Canada, as far as I can tell, on any of these developments.

I’m still trying to figure out what this is really all about. From what I can tell, most discussion so far on the Kyoto protocol has been behind closed doors. Tuvalu wants it out in the open, and some countries are opposed to that, especially the oil-producing states. Other countries have a more subtle set of reasons for opposing it, including timing and better competing proposals. We can’t jump to conclusions yet. Oh, it’s a complicated web we weave…

Normally everything is decided by consensus here. But on this things may actually go to a majority vote, which would make history. Yep, exciting times.

In the meantime, suspended negotiating makes for forlorn trackers…

Much love from Copenhagen,