December 2nd – This morning I am attending (and blogging to you ‘live’) from the plenary room in which today’s meeting is the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). Welcome to the ‘boring stuff’.
I am struck by the incomprehensibility of this process, the enormity of the task of an international negotiation, across dozens of languages (current speaker is from China, through instantaneous translation over free headsets at each session). He is reading from a script. Is this the negotiation? Have all other delegations read advance copies of these statements? Are they reacting and planning in ‘real time’? Are they merely ‘saying their piece’ in this ‘public’ forum? It must be the latter.
But if this is a session of position statements, when, where and how is consensus reached?
Aha! As I listen to the honorable chairwoman of the session, she charges a ‘subgroup’ with the consideration of items which she details by the complicated system of reference numbers by which the UN Climate Change Secretariat puts order to the chaos of positions, papers, findings, briefings, informal meetings of experts, actions, recommendations, workshops, and who-knows-what-else come under consideration of this vast body.
But Madame Chairwoman’s statement is entirely scripted and read by her. This then implies the layer of readers and writers that lie in front of and behind this stage of the process. And the twist added in this the beginning of the 21st century, is that much of this is made publicly available at the click of a mouse… surely a mouse that roars!
For the Earth – §