Lately I've been wondering if everything going on in the world of climate change has been done just for the benefit of ASIC 200, a course I co-teach which goes into the heady arena of climate politics. It's like you can't make this stuff up.
Just hot off the presses at the Guardian is news about a leaked document called "The Danish Text." It's essentially a primer document made to help speed things along at Copenhagen, but its optics also look like that of a "let's see if we can move the process out of the UN and into the hands of the more affluent countries."
The Guardian points out that:
The document was described last night by one senior diplomat as "a very dangerous document for developing countries. It is a fundamental reworking of the UN balance of obligations. It is to be superimposed without discussion on the talks".
A confidential analysis of the text by developing countries also seen by the Guardian shows deep unease over details of the text. In particular, it is understood to:
â¢ Force developing countries to agree to specific emission cuts and measures that were not part of the original UN agreement;
â¢ Divide poor countries further by creating a new category of developing countries called "the most vulnerable";
â¢ Weaken the UN's role in handling climate finance;
â¢ Not allow poor countries to emit more than 1.44 tonnes of carbon per person by 2050, while allowing rich countries to emit 2.67 tonnes.
Developing countries that have seen the text are understood to be furious that it is being promoted by rich countries without their knowledge and without discussion in the negotiations.
"It is being done in secret. Clearly the intention is to get [Barack] Obama and the leaders of other rich countries to muscle it through when they arrive next week. It effectively is the end of the UN process," said one diplomat, who asked to remain nameless.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It does look like it will hurt a little, but by the same token, it might be a good thing since presumably the countries involved (sounds like the UK and the US for instance) might need to be especially reasonable to save face? One can hope anyway.