Perhaps. At least, this certainly doesn’t help matters.
Or could it be because they’ve forgotten where they came from and what they have to do to get to their destination? Or worse… maybe they’re not even sure where they’re headed anymore?
We thought this might be part of the problem. Maybe some people had ditched the roadmap and thrown everyone else off course. So we thought we’d take a stab at re-drawing the map, and ask people if our new version of the map could help us get where we need to be.
How do you write a roadmap on solving climate change through the UNFCCC process?
It depends on who you ask. Everyone has a different idea of where they want to be at the end of it. Maybe that’s why no-one can agree on which direction to turn - they’re all reading off different maps, and some of them are reading the map upside down. But if you ask the youth constituency for their destination, the answer is clear and unanimous: Survival.
Directions to Survival
The Road Map to Survival was written in Bali in 2007. It’s pretty clear that you needed to pass through the Kyoto Protocol to reach the ultimate destination. It’s not as if Kyoto and Survival are the same place, but there doesn’t seem to be another way of reaching Survival yet.
Unfortunately the most direct route to Kyoto was closed off at Copenhagen in 2009 by a barricade of self-interest. This unforeseen obstacle seemed to have disorientated our errant negotiators, now drifting through the Moon Palace Hotel in Cancún, trying not to be put off by Japan and Canada yelling at them from the lay-by, ‘Forget the map! Who needs Kyoto? It’s gonna drain our fuel-tanks to get there, and fossil fuels are precious. Let’s just go for a swim in Playa del Carmen and maybe bury our heads in the sand while we’re at it.’
Bless them, no wonder they’re confused.
We wanted to understand what it felt like to be lost on the way to Kyoto. So we decided to wander around the Moon Palace Hotel, with the Survival Road Map in hand, looking lost. Here’s a typical response:
Negotiator: Excuse me, you look lost, may I help you?
Me: Oh yes, thank you very much. I’m, uh… [looking in all directions, squinting at the map and turning it around] … trying to find the way to the Kyoto Protocol. I was definitely there once, and now I … I just can’t seem to get back again. See, I have this Road Map, but I’m having a few problems, erm, navigating it…
Negotiator: I see…
Me: So, it would seem I’m in Cancún…
Me: I’ve just come from Copenhagen, which turned out to be a dead end. But I’ve been told, and please tell me if you think this is correct, that I’ll have to carry on past these loop-holes – sorry – pot-holes, err, and then cross the Bridge of Trust…
Negotiator: Hmm… I think you have to get round a whole lot of gigatonnes before you can get to the Bridge of Trust…
Me: Ah, is that so?
Me: Well thats going to be tricky. But I’ve been told that there’s some members of civil society along this road who can point me in the right direction, and stop me going down Self-Interest Avenue, which looks like it goes the wrong way, towards Denial River.
Negotiator: Yes, there are definitely some people who have got stuck down there.
Me: Thats a shame because it actually leads nowhere, as you can see.
Negotiator: Ah, yes thats a problem.
Me: So what would you suggest I do?
Negotiator: Well, if I were you, I’d just keep going straight. Stick to the map. Go through Compromise here…
Negotiator: Yes [pointing at map] you see Compromise is directly on the way to Kyoto and Survival.
Me: Ah so it is. Will you be going that way too?
Negotiator: Yes, I think we will. It seems like the best way. It is the only way. It may take longer than we thought but it’s the only way.
Some negotiators were very helpful, and seemed to know exactly where to go. Some didn’t want to look at the Survival Road Map which they’d agreed to follow only 3 years before. And some couldn’t even agree amongst themselves about where they were:
Negotiator I: I don’t think we’re in Cancún anymore, I think we’re here, just a little further along the highway.
Negotiator II: No! We’re not there! We’re still in Tianjin! We are exactly where we were in November! This map is wrong!
Negotiator III: No, I think we’re still in Copenhagen. We never really came back from Copenhagen, we’re stuck there.
Negotiator IV: No. We are definitely in Cancún, and there’s nothing we can do about that. We just have to move faster along the map. Step by step we will get there.
About the authorAAN Editors
The Adopt a Negotiator Editorial team is made up of Global Call for Climate Action staff and lovely volunteers.