It's difficult at this stage of the talks to really get a sense of what's happening when countries gather behind closed doors, where the real negotiations are taking place.
What we are getting a sense of is a growing support for the EU's roadmap towards an international agreement. In a press conference yesterday, South Africa confirmed that the roadmap is forming the basis of many discussions within the Africa Group, G77 and the BASIC grouping, which also includes Brazil, India and China. “We have discussed, we have engaged, we think it's a good roadmap.” Japan has also come out to confirm that it “has no reason to oppose it.”
Brazil and Argentina have been tasked to work with the EU to find solutions and “where we can converge on the roadmap.” Indeed Brazil later confirmed that it was being “heavily debated” and that it will soon have a “strong position” on it and be “open to a clear negotiation” on it.
In press interviews, China's chief climate negotiator, Su Wei, seems to oppose to Europe's condition that it would only sign up to a second Kyoto period if the roadmap was agreed, but added that China was “open and ready to talk to them”. Indeed, it seems the conditions that accompanied the EU's proposal will certainly be subject to heavy lobbying in the coming week.
Just to recap. The EU's conditions were:
· The roadmap and deadline for a comprehensive and legally binding global climate framework that should enter into force no later than 2020;
· Strengthening Kyoto's environmental integrity through a robust accounting framework for forest management and through a solution to the issue of the surplus of emission budgets ("AAUs") from the first commitment period. This solution must be non discriminatory and preserves incentives for overachievement of emission targets;
· Establishing one or more new market-based mechanisms in order to boost the development of a robust international carbon market.
This swell of positive opinion may all be in vain if the US isn't on board. They quickly distanced themselves from the roadmap on Monday. Without them there is no global agreement. And without a global agreement there can be no real solution to climate change.