It's the climactic battle of David and Goliath Redux17 this week as seasoned and highly funded sharp shooters arrive at the COP under cover of corporate drones, which loom overhead controlling the purse strings of their political lackeys.
The sharpening of the swords in Durban comes at the expense of the least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SDISs) who hold out little hope of any authentic solutions via the seemingly corrupted, antiquated and bloviated UNFCCC negotiation process.
The two key issues which must be resolved by Friday are the second commitment of the Kyoto Protocol and the establishment of the Green Climate Fund to supply more than $1 billion annually in adaptation funding for those countries most vulnerable to climate change.
A dramatic shift in geopolitics since the official negotiating process began in 1992 highlights the serious nature of the problems facing negotiators in Durban.
One of the major problems are growing tensions among the 132 countries constituting the G-77 and China. The BASIC nations - Brazil South Africa,and India and China - while part of this group - currently have significantly higher emissions and larger more prosperous economies than they did back in the 1990s. Their desire to postpone any decision on cuts to their emissions for ten more years is just one example of how marginalized AOSIS and other LDCs have become.
China, however, is hinting they might consider agreeing to legally binding emission cuts under a new international treaty.
Bangladesh reporter Sayed Talat Kamal provides an excellent overview of the situation as we enter day two, week two in today's article Green Climate Fund a big hurdle
Nezir Sinani, of the Institute of Development in Kosovo, has said that he had met many delegates from across the world with the same story "the World Bank was funding unsustainable operations that are damaging the environment." Under the circumstances, he argues, "The Green Climate Fund should not be given to the World Bank."
Suspicions are rife with regard to the private sector managing the funds as well. On one side of the street across the International Conference Centre (ICC), where the talks are being held in Durban, stands a 2m tall inflatable octopus with tentacles clinging to climate fund placards. The octopus represents greedy multinational conglomerates putting their hands in the Green Climate Fund pot.
Talks seem suspended as India, China and the US stand united against the EU's timeline for talks for drawing up a new climate treaty, which would extend the Koyoto Protocol to limit greenhouse gas emissions further.
According to Kamal, here's where the BIG Guns stand:
1. US, EU, Japan, Russia, Canada, and Australia: treaty which includes all major GHG emitters in any binding pact (i.e., China, India and Brazil)
2.EU, Norway, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand: officially for a second phase of Kyoto
3. India: No to legally binding GHGs
Emissions: China 24 percent; US < 20 percent; India > 5 percent = almost 1/2 of global emissions
Developing Countries/emergent economies >50% of GHGs; expected to rise to 2/3 within 20 years.
Snippets from Tweets & Blogs
BBC correspondent Richard Black analysis of the Durban: Climate summit looks back and forward
BBCRBlack Richard Black
Canadian Environment Minister Kent did describe oil/tar sands development as 'responsible and sustainable' at news conf
Rumours circulating that Canada announced Kyoto Protocol withdrawal today #COP17 - not so. Confirmed no second commitment period only.
1:38pm GMT update from Bill Gunyon
sorry to keep posting about the Todd Stern press briefing but it's clearly critical to setting the tone for the ministerial phase of the climate negotiations starting tomorrow.
Well known positions of the US were repeated. No legally binding deal which attempts to differentiate between national obligations - "legal parity" is the buzz phrase. And presumption that the emerging economies like China and India are just not ready to accept this. al which attempts to differentiate between national obligations - "legal parity" is the buzz phrase. And presumption that the emerging economies like China and India are just not ready to accept this.
A couple of other points of possible interest:
*Stern is due to meet his Chinese counterpart tomorrow
*US emissions are down about 6% on 2005, on way to 17% target by 2020
And finally just to wind everyone up, here's Stern's comment on the governance of the Green Climate Fund:
"I want to see a Green Climate Fund that will draw in a lot of capital (my comment here - that means leveraged borrowing). I like climate negotiators very much and I spend a lot of time with them but climate negotiators are not necessarily the right people to run a multi-billion dollar fund."
Anyone remember the management of the US banking system circa 2008?
Tweet of the Day
WFP World Food Programme
#Hungerfact: Climate change expected to add 10-20% to world's hungry by 2050. #cop17 bit.ly/vWBjXe via @wfp
Watch the UNFCCC Talks LIVE
OneClimate. LIVE Broadcasts (3pm Durban, 1PM, London 8AM New York) and live blog.
OccupyCOP17/C17/Civil Society Schedule
Monday will be big business and climate change, as well as a group working on sorting out Speakers Corner to prepare for the week ahead.
Tuesday will focus on the processes we’ve been using, with teach-ins on consensus decision making and facilitation. We put a special call-out to the ambassadors and negotiators to the UN to come and learn some useful tools in reaching an equitable and fair consensus.
Wednesday we will focus on climate finance and will be releasing an exclusive video showing how and why market-based mechanisms such as carbon trading, offsetting, CMD and REDD are failing to halt emissions and are causing social and environmental chaos.
Thursday we will hear about and support local struggles in Durban and the surrounding area, with special reference to Occupy Durban and those who have been evicted from their dwellings
Friday is when the final negotiations will happen, when we get to hear what the Durban Mandate from COP17 will likely be. We want to have as many people as possible occupying Speakers Corner so that together we can reach and deliver our own conclusions. As well as our usual general assembly we will have a special assembly starting at 7pm and will be holding an all night candlelit vigil for climate justice.