This is how the Glasgow agreement is negotiated against the clock

Only a few hours to go for governments around the world to present the commitment that, after two weeks of intense debate, they have agreed to tackle the climate crisis. The text that collects the agreements, promises and duties in climatic matters it is currently going through the umpteenth scrutiny of ministers of environment, delegates and experts sent by the countries. There are still many fringes that need to be polished. And as several spokespersons from around the world announced this afternoon during the general plenary, right now there are still those who are sending notes to clarify, expand or change the final statement.

According to sources close to the negotiations to this newspaper, it has been days since the different working groups they start very early and they last until dawn. Still at the discussion table are discussed, from extremely technical issues to commitments that could shape the future of millions of people around the world, such as the calendar to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or the pact to help the global south. to face the scourge of crisis. In both cases, the future of these agreements is a matter of language. At the moment, in fact, the revision of the text is mainly focused on polishing the words. Add nuances. Change a ‘must’ (which implies the obligatory nature of a measure) for a ‘should’ (which extends, perhaps too much, the room for maneuver for countries).

Between tequila and vodka

The presidency of this Summit, led by the British Alok Sharma, has promised on more than one occasion that the final agreement will be published this Friday afternoon. Ideally around six, just for tea time. When talking about drinks, it can be said that depending on when the debate ends, one thing or another will be drunk. Just a few days ago, in fact, in one of those sessions that drag on until late at night, the Mexican delegation promised to give away bottles of tequila to the organizers of the event if they managed to close a commitment this Friday. The Russians, who are not joking about alcohol either, raised the ante by promising bottles of their most precious vodka if the final statement was released before the evening.

The corridors of the Glasgow Summit now breathe a different air. The atmosphere is fraught with tension. There are a frenzy of government delegates, which, unlike the other attendees, stand out for their fine suits and purple accreditation. Impossible to know what is happening in the closed-door discussions where they are headed. Of course, seeing what happens outside, everything indicates that the final sprint is being more than intense. In the only supermarket present on the premises, for example, the energy drinks they were sold out shortly after noon. In bars, waiters try to collect all the reusable cups they can because, unlike other days, this Friday the coffee is flying faster than usual.

Legend has it, or rather experience, that the success of the Climate Summits depends on how good the logistics of the event was. The better the organization, the better the result. The greater the convenience of the facilities, the better the communication between the parties. The easier it is for delegates to do their job, the better the agreements. If the premise is confirmed, Glasgow will have it frankly difficult to succeed. In these weeks, in fact, there are many who have pointed out that the gear of this event has not finished working. Partly for purely logistical reasons. And partly because, of course, organizing an event of this magnitude in times of a pandemic is mission impossible.


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