Beginning of International Climate School

In my comments before the international global warming negotiations in Ghana, I highlighted that the true test of whether this meeting could be viewed as a success on the “road to Copenhagen” was whether we could start to get specific proposals put forward by countries and whether countries would use these proposals to start to outline their positions…after all, the clock is ticking on getting an agreement in Copenhagen.  Did countries do their homework?  Did they start to answer some key questions?

Clearly, some countries did their homework.  They were told by the school master—Yvo de Boer, the Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention—to start moving ideas to proposals.  Some parties took this seriously and did their homework, including proposals from:

  • Norway (using auction revenues from emissions trading systems), Switzerland, Mexico (creation of a Global Fund), and the group of developing countries (the “G77 and China”) on financial incentives to assist developing countries in enhanced actions
  • EU and the African countries on adaptation

While other countries didn’t put specific proposals forward, they did undertake the second task of a student—start to figure out answers to the questions—including from:

Lot’s more homework and questions to answer before we can get agreement in Copenhagen.  But clearly some students are giving this critical issue the serious attention that it deserves.  After all, I’m sure they were good students in “regular school” so now they need to become good students in “climate school”.

The bell is about to ring for new US leadership.  So, I hope that they are doing their homework and getting prepared to answer key questions well in advance of the final exam in Copenhagen.

So, some significant progress in getting clarity on key elements of the Copenhagen agreement.  There is a lot more work to do before we have an effective international agreement to global warming.