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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Hang on – that’s not how it’s supposed to be written

Guy Keleny
Rafael Nadal is down and out, beaten by Dustin Brown at Wimbledon – but an era is not thereby ended  

Sad as it is, Rafael Nadal's decline does not mark the end of tennis's golden era

Tom Peck
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test