Mark Lynas: Copenhagen Notebook

Share

* Things are beginning to look very, very pear-shaped. The first I heard on arrival this morning was that the meeting president, Connie Hildegard, had resigned – and there she was, surrounded by media, outside the plenary meeting. After a week of struggling to reconcile the competing agendas of the deeply- divided groups here, she seemed to have thrown in the towel. The UN climate change secretariat, trying to make good news out of bad, put out a press release suggesting she had simply made way for the Danish Prime Minister to take over.

* This inauspicious start was soon followed by acrimonious rancour breaking out at the main plenary, as African and developing country delegates – many having already worked through the night – sought reassurance that all their input over the past few days is not simply going to be thrown away.

* Adding to the sense of crisis, most of the NGOs, big names like Friends of the Earth included, staged a noisy walkout over the withdrawal of many of the badges of campaigning groups.

* Meanwhile, thousands of protesters were being arrested not far away after trying to invade the conference centre. The protests were successful in adding a feeling of siege to the proceedings – delegates were inconvenienced by a metro station being closed for "crowd control". The protests make it clear that the eyes of the world are upon us.

* The state of the negotiations is not good. The optimists talk of a 50:50 chance of success, defined now as a political declaration rather than a legally binding agreement. Hardly anyone seems to recall that at Bali, two years ago, Copenhagen was seen as the absolute conclusion of a process – the idea that it could drag on for another six months would have been unthinkable. Yet that is now seen as a positive prospect. The pessimists are talking about collapse, with the subtext that this might be the end of the Kyoto process, and indeed global attempts to control climate change, altogether. I don't think things have got this bad – yet. But the fact is that with dozens of heads of state already in the building, there are hundreds of questions that remain to be settled. Another day has just been wasted in process wrangles... with only two more to go.

Mark Lynas, one of Britain's leading climate change experts and author of 'Six Degrees', the Royal Society's science book of the year, is writing for 'The Independent' throughout the summit. He is attending the conference as an adviser to the President of The Maldives

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Support Technician (2nd Line / Server Support) - Bedford

£24000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: 2nd line IT Support Techn...

Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a b...

Year 3 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...

Science Teacher

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Are you a qualified science t...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Ed Miliband on low pay; Alan Johnson on Betjeman; Tom Freeman on editing

John Rentoul
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments