Bravo, sir. I had a rather testy exchange with Runge-Metzger at the Barcelona talks just prior to COP15 in Copenhagen. He cut the mics and ended an EU press conference after failing to answer my question about when a binding deal would be reached. Nice to see him grow a spine since.
Curious to hear the European response to the G-77’s clear call for a legally binding agreement, later today I asked the EU delegation to explain specifically what timeframe would be acceptable to set legally binding targets if Copenhagen fails to produce solid results and instead ends with such a politically binding (i.e. hollow) agreement, or worse still, no agreement.
It was the last question the E.U. delegation took from the press today, and provides all the clarity that Africa and the developing countries can expect from the industrialized world for now.
Artur Runge-Metzger, the chief negotiator for the European Commission, sitting next to the nodding Swedish delegate (Sweden currently holds the E.U. presidency) responded simply, “It should be as quickly as possible after Copenhagen.” (Full stop, microphones cut, end of press conference.*)
In contrast to the developing world’s clear, specific position, the E.U. seems to act as if these negotiations just started, as if talks haven’t been going on for years since Kyoto. Europe seems to project the image that it is suddenly being asked to answer this fundamental question.
In reality, Europe and the rest of the developed world have had more than ample time over the past decade to develop a clear position. But when pressed on specifics now, just weeks before the world expects a concrete treaty, they are still flailing around like fish out of water.
Much work remains to be done, and 99% of the burden rests on the E.U. and U.S. to show the rest of the world they understand the severe implications of any further delay in responding to the climate crisis. The anger from Africa and the rest of the developing world will continue to grow, as will the carbon emissions responsible for climate change.
Europe and the U.S. must stand up and be counted.