Copenhagen Stage Set for Arrival of World Leaders

Copenhagen Stage Set for Arrival of World Leaders

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The list of heads of state that will be arriving to COP-15 on Wednesday is pretty impressive. Rudd, Netanyahu, Chavez, Kirschner, Sarkozy, Berlusconi, Mubarak, Kibaki, Arroyo, Yudhoyono, more controversial figures such as Mugabe and Ahmadinejad and on and on to over 100.

The speaking schedule, with each leader allotted 3 minutes, begins at 9 a.m. and goes through 2 a.m. across two days. Obama has not been officially listed but is expected here Friday.

There is definitely a growing excitement in the air, as well as some consternation over restricted access headed into next week.

Civil society -- the term given to representatives from non-government organizations, business, research, etc. who are observers to the process, as distinct from party delegates who are part of the negotiations -- are expected to be allocated passes for only 30 percent of their delegations from Monday. They will allocate these within their delegations as they see fit.

This is occurring because over 20,000 civil society representatives are registered, but the conference center can only hold 15,000 people. Press and party delegations will be allowed entry in full. Here's hoping the process works smoothly if it's implemented, leaving the real challenges to the ones taking place inside the negotiations.

The middle part of the week was dominated by news of the Tuvalu-led walkout that suspended the COP. The issue was whether and how to consider amendments to the Kyoto Protocol or consider a new protocol all together.

A faction led by China and India essentially want the amendments limited to new emission reduction commitments by developed countries. Other countries led by Tuvalu and the Association of Small Island States want to discuss a process for introducing far more changes. This would open up the issue of whether emerging and developing economies should also accept reduction commitments.

From all indications -- in the hallways, from delegation briefings and the opinions of those who have been to many of the 14 previous COPs -- it is unclear what happens now.

There are multiple draft texts of what a new agreement could look like, but no agreed way forward under what framework to negotiate such an agreement. There are multiple closed-door meetings occurring, normal for this part of the negotiations but frustrating for observers with such high stakes being discussed.

Today, civil society meetings with the COP President Connie Hedegaard and with the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer were both cancelled as was a briefing by the U.S. delegation to the business community. That's unfortunate but acceptable if it means they are inching us closer to getting somewhere.

In the meantime, meaningful news for business is in somewhat short supply.

Negotiations on key issues like REDD and revisions to the Clean Development Mechanism are continuing but will be beholden to a resolution on the broader conversations to move toward substantive implementation discussions. There's a lot of "if's" and "when's" and "maybe's" in side events and discussions related to carbon markets.

Maybe all those leaders can come up with something at 2 a.m.

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.

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america.gov.