COP15, BINGO and the Leaked Danish Text

COP15, BINGO and the Leaked Danish Text

Image CC licensed by Flickr user adopt a negotiator.

With so many different stakeholder groups represented at COP15 and numerous working groups simultaneously holding meetings, the trick as a delegate is to try and stay ahead of the curve to ensure the right information in a timely fashion.

For the business community the place to find out what has and is taking place is in the daily BINGO meetings. Now I know BINGO may conjure up images of little old ladies screaming 'house' at the top of their voices but this form of BINGO is in the context of COP 15.

It stands for Business and Industry Non Governmental Organization and is attended by some highly credible industry associations including the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), Carbon Markets Investors Association (CMIA) and International Emissions Trading Association (IETA). In a conference where 30,000 people are registered to attend, it is important for the business community to maintain a clear and audible voice in order to make sure opinions are heard.{related_content}However, there was a 'full house' at BINGO this morning (rather unusual for this early on into COP) and the meeting got off to an interesting start. Discussions centered on a story published by The Guardian based on some controversial draft text that the Danish government had put forward for debate. The furor commenced as some of the developing countries were not impressed with the content that had been drafted outside the official COP 15 negotiations.

A Point Carbon quote from Yvo de Boer, the UN's Climate Chief, stating, "This was an informal paper ahead of the conference given to a number of people for the purposes of consultations" only fueled the discussion further.

Some skeptics are backtracking slightly on closer examination of the document. One previously skeptical official commented, "Actually, most of this is O.K," and the bits that weren't required a few pen strokes and some clarification. Such is the fine art of international negotiation.

The full version of the Danish text can be viewed here.

Another interesting outcome from today's events is from Tuvalu (a small island state), which has reportedly asked for the COP to be suspended unless developed countries agree to take on legally binding targets. Given that the U.S. can't take on legally binding targets until Congress has approved them -- and that won't happen this year -- this would mean that Copenhagen would either produce an agreement without the U.S., a less than ideal prospect, or there will be no progress until Mexico this time next year, -- again, not ideal.

As I am writing this blog, a mini-demonstration is going on 50 feet away. Hopefully tomorrow Tuvalu will be back at the table and progress towards the hoped-for political agreement to generate a legally binding agreement in Mexico will continue.

After the BINGO, controversial draft texts, requests for suspension and mini-demonstrations, all that remains to be seen is what will we wake up to tomorrow.

Miles Austin is head of European regulatory affairs for EcoSecurities.

Click here for full coverage of COP15 from the GreenBiz.com and ClimateBiz.com teams, including posts from Copenhagen by Executive Editor Joel Makower and Senior Contributor Marc Gunther, and from dozens of guest contributors from the business world.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user adopt a negotiator.