How Long Does it Take to Edit one Paragraph?

8 Dec

I just sat in on a portion of the Ad-Hoc Working Group for the Kyoto Protocol meeting  on potential consequences of the Kyoto Accord. Allow me to illustrate the content of the past 45 minutes of my life.

The chair of this meeting intended to discuss consequences. Immediately Sweden proposed (with the backing on a number of other countries) that the text from the last meeting be read again before getting to any talk of consequences.  Paragraphs 1 to 3 were skimmed very quickly, paragraph 4 on the other hand, was a different story. It read like this:

The AWG-KP further noted that [striving to minimize] [minimizing] the adverse impacts of mitigation actions is a common concern of both developing and developed countries. It reiterated that there could be both positive and negative consequences of mitigation actions and agreed that [its work on this issue should focus on minimizing negative potential consequences for Parties] [[attention] [a core aspect of the work] should be paid to [minimizing] [how to minimize] potential negative consequences for developing countries.] The AWG-KP further noted that the work on potential consequences will need:

  1. To support and complement efforts to mitigate climate change;
  2. To benefit from experiences of Parties and lessons learned;
  3. [To take into consideration the role of national [climate] policies and measures in terms of potential adverse social, environmental and economic impacts on other Parties, especially on developing country Parties];
  4. [To [blanace the consideration of] [consider both] negative and positive potential consequences].

(Document FCCC/KP/AWG/2009/12/Rev.2 16 November 2009 – Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex 1 Parties Under the Kyoto Protocol, Tenth Session Copenhagen, 7-15 December 2009, Item 3 of the provisional agenda)

After back and forth suggestions from Sweden (to condense the text) and South Africa (To not let anything important get cut), the 45 minutes ended with more bracketed options, and South Africa’s point of placing brackets around the entire paragraph as they stated that they would like to remove all original text and rewrite the paragraph. Needless to say, I did not stay for the discussion of the following paragraphs. I wonder how the Kyoto accord was ever written? From my experience today, it seems as though countries will bicker about whether they should THINK about doing things or ACTUALLY do things  for ever with the only conclusive result being that there is no conclusive result. I sincerely hope that I am proven wrong.

So far, from what I’ve seen at COP today, things are moving slowly, if they’re even moving at all, and with regards to the above mentioned group, things are moving backwards. I’ll end with a poll.

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