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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: union bosses mobilise to try to prevent a Labour government

John Rentoul
Yvette Cooper campaigning in London at the launch of Labour’s women’s manifesto  

I want the Labour Party to lead a revolution in family support

Yvette Cooper
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine