COP-17 Last Night

9 December 2011 --- At least we thought it was going to be the last night. I went prepared to stay the entire night as I did in Cancun at COP-16. The COP session was supposed to start at 8pm, but did start at 8:30 pm. The substitute for the President considered all the agenda items that had already been agreed in the first week, like the loss and damage agreement that I wrote about at the end of the first week under Adaptation. This is official protocol to get these agreements into the final Durban COP-17 docment. There were also organizational issues, such as the venue for the next, COP-18, which is Qatar. There was still no agreement on Rule 42, which establishes the consensus process as against Papua New Guinea's proposal for voting. These items only took 45 minutes, so at 9:15 pm the COP was suspended while negotiations continued on the other issues. I stayed, along with many other people, waiting for the COP to resume. But at 11 pm someone came in saying that the COP would resume at 10 am tomorrow morning and we had to all leave.

Yesterday morning at the daily strategy meeting of the Climate Justice Now group, two rumors were reported, that the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) and the African group, were both supporting the European Union proposal. It seems that AOSIS was at the EU Press Conference, symbolically holding hands. But someone from the Africa group was asked about this rumor, he said, "no way!"

The rumors circulating as we were waiting for the COP to resume were that the Group of 77 and China were refusing to go along with the proposed decision, which was the EU proposal. The proposed decision that was circulated as Chair's Proposal was the EU proposal. From the beginning of COP-17 it was said that South Africa was supporting the EU and not the Africa group. Many of the actions taken during the COP-17 were designed to shame South Africa for not supporing the rest of Africa. Before we arrived the former President of Costa Rica, Jose Figueres, recommended that developing countries just stay in South Africa until they get a good decision. It is too urgent --- we cannot wait any longer!

That may be the mentality of the developing countries. I hope so, and I hope the developed countries finally get the message. There is an all-night vigil tonight at the Speaker's Corner, that triangular traffic island right outside the ICC where the meetings are being held. Reports from there were that it was very uplifting, much more positive than being inside the the ICC.

I have a flight out on Sunday morning, which I expect to be on, even if the COP has not finished. The all nighter may be tomorrow night instead of tonight, but I will stay as long as I can.

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