“These discussions are coming back like a zombie that keeps coming after you brain”
“If it’s a zombie we’d like to put it back to bed”
“We need to find where the bodies, not the zombies, are buried”
These aren’t quotes from the latest hollywood Zombie blockbuster, but from negotiators during last night’s Long Term Cooperative Action discussions that ended at 3:50am last night. Why 3:50am precisely? Well, Chinese diplomacy was such to remind everyone of the the need to wrap up discussions so that they can catch the 4am bus back to their hotels.
When talks go past midnight in UNFCCC world, all statements seem to passive aggressively begin with “Good Morning”, and negotiating through the use of zombie metaphors seems entirely logical.
What was achieved from the discussions last night? Well, there was universal agreement that the parties disagreed with each other. The UAE were frustrated that discussions from the previous night had led them down the completely wrong way, Saudi Arabia felt that parties were just speaking at each other, and the Vice-Chair seemed resigned to abandoning cooperative sector-specific approaches in the text.
With discussions approaching the final sprint, we may see the emergence of many more metaphorical zombies as countries feel the urgency to agree on a deal. To echo the Vice-Chair last night, “Our ordeal is not finished yet..”
About the authorTariq Al-Olaimy
Co-Founder 3BL Associates, Biomimicry specialist, Arab Youth Climate Movement National Co- ordinator, HBF Arab World Policy Specialist.