Mark Lynas: Copenhagen Notebook

Share
Related Topics

* Being a negotiator is like representing yourself in court when you're accused of murder – not a good idea unless you really know what you're doing. It's a lot better if you're surrounded by teams of lawyers.

p>* All of the more powerful countries, such as China and the US, have dozens of people coordinating things and keeping each other informed, making sure that their positions are properly represented and argued for at each of the sessions that matter...

* ...which is incredibly difficult to do if you are – like us – a small island state such as the Maldives, which doesn't even have an office. We have had to conduct our business over coffee tables. It's very difficult to coordinate a meeting when you're in a melee of several thousand people and none of you know where the others are. We have to communicate by phone and we've all had to buy Danish mobiles to keep bills down.

* The reality of negotiating is that you have to take part in the legalistic process of arguing over square brackets in the texts, while knowing that any deal that emerges at the end is already being cooked up behind closed doors by the heads of state and senior ministers of the powerful countries.

* Negotiators know what the language means, what the process is, and how to play devious games to advance their cause, but that doesn't tend to get you anywhere. If you had hundreds of negotiators in a room the process could take two years, let alone two weeks.

* Then when you take it to ministerial level, they're not necessarily well-versed about the way it works. Kevin Rudd has a team of 100 people briefing him and condensing what he needs to know for each crucial meeting, but small developing countries just don't have that.

* I just came out of a negotiating session in which I was trying to figure out a proposed sub-clause that the Indians and the Chinese had put in to paragraph 13 when I got an email about the latest sea-level rise projections. I suppose you need to have that brought home to you every so often – and remember that for countries like the Maldives, it really is a matter of life and death.

Mark Lynas is attending Copenhagen as an adviser to the Maldives. He is the author of 'Six Degrees', the Royal Society's Science Book of the Year

Most talked at length about why the talking had to stop

Chris Green, Page 6

React Now

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

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking EY...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: NEWLY QUALIFIED TEACHER WE CAN HELP ...

Lead FE Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, jQuery, Knockout)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead FE Softwa...

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 4 Primary Teachers needed for Se...

Day In a Page

A view over Rotherham  

The Only Way is Ethics: There are many dangers in a story as complex as the Rotherham child sex scandal

Will Gore
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor