3 weeks ago
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
I am still not entirely clear on exactly who pulls the strings around massive UN fandangos such as that which blurred past me in Cancun. Judging by the frantic questions, shrugged shoulders, vacant looks and puffy eyes that i repeatedly encountered, my vague understanding is not unique.
My biggest qualm is that I'm not sure that I see the connection between ministers of nearly every country you have ever heard of - and some you may not have (Kiribati, eg) - making very similar statements to a half-empty room of yawning delegates (who are doing nothing besides preparing their own statements) and the parade of closed door meetings where the various aspects of this years deal are fought over tooth and nail for every syllable.
But somehow, from some room, drafts started appearing at the documents booth. And out came the red pens of observers tracking every potentially significant piece of minutiae in the laborious syntax of UN meets legalese. Meetings being recalled to alter the word 'involving' to including. Hopes raised by the strategic addition of the word 'compelling'. Its all a bit overwhelming, even for someone who likes words a lot (me).
My hopes were dimmed, my blood pressure boiled, by how much of the final meeting was dedicated to apologizing to the Bolivian delegation for problems with UN security while entering the meeting (actually, i would like to know what the carbon footprint of stalling a meeting like that is). Not joking, this topic was returned to 8 times, with pathetically PC diatribes from the COP pres and other delegations of apology, condolence and 'sincere' hope that 'we' could move forward. Good grief. Climate change people; the central topic.
Bolivia fought tooth and nail to show it did not support the final document on this topic. Though severely implied, from what I remember, the word 'veto' did not leave from their Salón's (their chief negotiator) mouth. Pretty fun to watch. I'm not sure on the legal ins and outs, but he seemed pretty certain that it could not pass with his disapproval. No one else seemed to think this. A point reaffirmed by the sound of the Ms. Espinosa's, who thanked him for his comments several times - but none so dismissively as when her wrist directed said gavel towards its thumping point.
It all ended a bit surreal for me. Some bizarre hybrid of rave in the late 90's, and restless morning dreams I imagine people who unwillingly work in corporatelandia have as their alarms beep on expensive bedside tables. After sleep briefly forced my hand around 3 am, I woke up on the carpet under the "Biology of Mexico" exhibit in the atrium, arms wrapped into my backpack, confused as all hell. Bolivia was back on the 'big brother' screens in the press conference room. I couldn't find my friends. People were giving each other massages and hugs - but they were wearing suits and using big words. Everything seemed really glowy and blurry - no doubt a function of collectively no sleep. People asked me questions in english I couldn't understand. Calderon gave his final words from 'Big Brother.' I finally found one friend, but passed out under a stairway amidst a fallen mosh pit of journalists and civil society members scattered about. I somehow forced out the end of an article, and went searching the main plenary hall for a more robust, clear conclusion to it all. I found more suit-zombies, a sea of coffee cups and a distinct feeling of utter confusion. I gave up, and took the shuttle bus back to my hostel with a truly interesting selection of national delegates passed out at every angle possible. When I woke up at the final stop, the sun had beat me.
Ultimately, with a touch of process time, I think the outcome is decent. But to me, remains in similar limbos as always: no one's bound to anything, and its not abundantly clear to me 'what' exactly countries are going to do to make any improvements.
Now, back in my freezing house in Mexico City, I hope the people that matter - people who make political decisions in their respective countries, especially the big emitters - seemed a bit more clear on how things had ended, and that they are taking back concrete realities to work towards, not just the hazy feelings of 'what the eff does this all mean?!?' that I know for a fact I was not alone in feeling.
Posted by Esteyonage at 18:49