In The Field

Poznan: Call it a wrap

Delegates filed out of the Poznan International Fair early Saturday, ending two weeks of talks with a series of documents that lay the groundwork and set the schedule for negotiations next year (AFP).

In other words, the delegates have merely agreed to what is on the table and when to discuss it. Doesn’t sound like much, but, in truth, that is pretty much what they were hoping to do. I talked to more than one observer who said their main objective going into Poznan was to ensure the talks didn’t get derailed altogether by the financial crisis. Calls for a “Green New Deal” became the rallying cry.

UN officials are billing the meeting as a success, though many environmental groups say delegates ended up kicking far too many issues into next year. Indeed, Poznan represents the midway point between Bali and Copenhagen, where the talks are scheduled to conclude, but it’s not at all clear that half of the work has been done. Aside from launching the adaptation fund (without an expansion of funding), no major issues were resolved.

Negotiators made some progress on deforestation, though not as much as hoped. They also made some modifications to the program that developed countries use to offset their emissions in developing countries, but could not agree on whether to wrap efforts to bury carbon dioxide into the list of eligible technologies for doing so. Instead, they called for a report on the matter.

As things would down Friday night, the conference shifted to Stary Rynek, the square in the centre of Poznan. Bars and restaurants filled up as delegations, lobbyists, advocates and, yes, media gathered for a final set of informal talks before heading home.

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