Climate Wrap-Up: Barcelona Talks Marked by Urgency, Frustration and Pleas for Patience

Barcelona was supposed to bring hints of what's to come in December at the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen. A world seeking sanity.

Of course the stories would be rich, the perplexities deep. Keith Schneider, our colleague and Circle of Blue senior editor, has covered environment and climate for 20 years for the New York Times and others. He follows the talks today with a keen eye for the most telling details and revealing trends.

From Barcelona, he's filed two pivotal reports. Most recent first, he wraps up the Barcelona talks as the conference comes to a close and U.S. legislation remains at a standstill. And earlier this week he advanced a story that left water experts apoplectic and wondering why, somewhere between Bangkok and Spain, every reference to water was pulled from the negotiating texts.


Climate Treaty Will Come after CoP-15

BARCELONA  – It’s been 30 years since scientists first gained a clear understanding of the dangerous consequences of continuously adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This week during the five days of negotiations in Barcelona the world learned again that the formula for solving global warming is a diplomatic chemistry problem that still defies a solution.

The problem has less to do with the regulatory and financial ingredients of a successful climate treaty formula, though they are complex and formidable, and much more to do with raw ideological differences, national rivalries and even competing human emotions. Urgency and frustration marked the Barcelona talks. But so did new pleas for patience and trust.

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Water Drains From Climate Negotiations Documents

BARCELONA — Last month, when participants in Bangkok concluded another of the international negotiating sessions on climate change, a group of water policy specialists believed they were making progress. The Bangkok meeting concluded with the publication of a specialized report on the proceedings, known in United Nations’ language as Non-Paper 8, that included a number of statements about linking the global freshwater crisis to the climate crisis.

By directly joining the warming planet and its steadily melting, flooding, and drying landscape the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change was also taking the first steps to establishing common financial, policy and management solutions. The intent of the authors of Non-Paper 8 passage was clear: Fix the climate problem and a number of the planet’s big water problems would also be solved.

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