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December 08, 2010

Bad process in climate talks, repeat

Last year in Copenhagen, a handful of heads of state led by President Obama sat in a room and hammered out what became to be known as the Copenhagen Accord. They congratulated themselves, announced an agreement and expected the rest of the participating governments to happily sign on.What followed was an amazing string of speeches going late into the night from countries who had been closed out of the room, decrying the agreement. The result: the Copenhagen Accord is now widely considered a failure—more public relations than reality.

Cancun 3 005 Will we see history repeat itself here in Cancún? Today at a press conference, Bolivia's lead negotiator Pablo Solon, outlined just how messed up the negotiating process is here: There are private invite-only consultations; multiple draft texts that don't represent input by governments; and no clear and transparent schedule of when official negotiations on specific topics will take place. Instead, Solon expressed concern that 40 countries are deciding for the nearly 200 governments here in Copenhagen.

Now, getting nearly 200 countries to agree on anything is a monumental challenge. But if you've ever wondered why mulilateral talks seem to never get anywhere, check out Bolivia's press conference (in Spanish or with English interpretation).

Ben Lilliston


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