COP-17 Decision-Making Process

4 December Saturday --- At the opening ceremony of the COP-17 one of the first items on the agenda was to accept the Rules. But Papua New Guinea objected to Rule 42 which requires consensus. That means that any one country can block any decision. Last year at COP-16 in Cancun at the last marathon session Bolivia objected to the agreement because the emission reductions agreed were not enough and recent science indicated would lead to more that 4 C increase by the end of this century. Besides, only 23 percent of emissions were covered because the U.S. and emerging economies (such as China, India, Brazil) did not have the same responsibilities to reduce as the developed countries. Several countries supported Bolivia, but the agreement was made through the inclusive negotiation process and included something for everyone. The catch phrase of the night was "Let not the perfect be the enemy of the good." So, all the countries supporting Bolivia reversed their positions and the President gaveled the decision at 5:30 am. But Bolivia never did agree, so that was actually against the rules.

Papua New Guinea proposes a substitute for Rule 42 that includes voting, two-thirds majority for some issues and three-fourths for others. Mexico supports Papua New Guinea's proposal, even though they have used the consensus rule to block decisions in the past. They are calling it the "Right to Vote." The President indicated there would be a consultation process on Rule 42 during this COP-17. In the meantime, the provisional rules are used, which require consensus. I'll update if anything else happens.

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