Friday, 18 December 2009

The inside story

Yesterday morning, Rasmussen (Denmark) left the high level multilateral negotiations in the hands of Brown (UK) and Rudd (Aus).

By the night, everyone was in compliance with the dress code as indicated, and they had studied the "Conversation topics with the Queen" cards that were prepared well in advance. Yesterday night, the Queen Margrethe II of Denmark offered a reception dinner for Heads of State and Government. All of them attended.

But meanwhile no deal had been reached yet. Heavy rumours about a long night coming. Then it was official. After the dinner, Heads of State and Government were to return to Bella Center, discuss the shared goal and the contributions, and seal a deal. Could not been easier. In a sudden, all the delegations, prepared numbers, bulleted briefing notes, handed graphs... 2 or 3 pages.

Sarkozy and Lula convened. A group of developed and developing nations met at 11pm.
The Big Shots.
Tic tac tic tac. Around 4am, the Heads of State had come to an agreement. The next step was to put it in paper. The ministers for the environment (or its equivalent) came in.
A text was proposed. A short document. Four hours later, around 8am, no agreement on the phrasing of paragraph 3. The towel to the floor, the arms to the side., the bell rang. KO.
It was not possible to translate spoken words into written words. When we knew we were angry. Fours year of work to the trash bin. It is useless to say who proposed the text. Does not matter anymore.

Just before 9:00am, Air Force one was landing at CHP airport. The city semi-paralised. Police everywhere, even the parking lots exits and several streets all over the city were closed, with a police cars parked; a helicopter suspended over an area of the airport. No one could move.

The presence of a Head of State may tremble you. But High level does not always mean high-leadership.
Neither a long night full of Heads of State and Government, preceded by a delicious dinner (I presume) could make the magic.

THe negotiations are not anymore on climate, 2°C, or 450ppm. They are on who makes concessions on lifesytles of its people. We've come to the core, the principles that guide our lives in different countries. If they couldn't, then who?

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