Maybe the negotiators are just overtired, or the plenary hall was overcrowded, but at the informal plenary meeting that just wrapped up, the entire room was given over to giddy enthusiasm. Aside from interventions from the usual crowd (Bolivia, Cuba, etc.) that cautioned that there is still work to be done on the draft text, every other country offered a rousing endorsement of the text and commendations for the Mexican presidency’s efforts to lead a transparent and open negotiating process. Every single intervention was followed by an intense round of applause. Even Todd Stern, usually a levelheaded speaker, declared “let’s get this deal done.” Although there are several meetings still to go this evening, we are now feeling more than ever that country parties will be able to reach a consensus on a balanced package outcome.
It’s hard to explain how exciting it felt to be in that room. We may not be making the deal here that saves the planet, but in the world of UN climate negotiations, near-unanimous agreement between developing and developed countries, applause and even spontaneous cheering are really quite unprecedented. For the first time since the Copenhagen conference one year ago, I’m genuinely confident that this process can prove to the world that it can be successful.