Sudden Action at COP17, But is an Agreement Within Reach?

protestors march at cop17© Alex Stark

This guest post was written by Alex Stark who is reporting from the UN Cimate Talks in Durban, South Africa, as part of the Adopt a Negotiator program and TckTckTck.

Hundreds of protestors marched through the ICC just minutes ago, demanding climate justice and a treaty deal now. Protestors, borrowing "mic check" chants from the Occupy Wall Street movement, spontaneously assembled in the ICC and streamed through the hall, carrying banners reading "don't kill Africa" and echoing the main speakers' voices: "we are here…for Africa/for the island nations" and "the people, united, will never be defeated."

Kumi Naidoo, head of Greenpeace, Mohamad Aslam, Minister of the Environment of the Maldives, and the group of protestors are currently fenced into a space near the main plenary hall by a wall of UNFCCC security personnel. How will this peaceful standoff end? We'll keep you updated!

An Agreement Within Reach?

The EU's Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard kicked off the final day of the Durban talks, giving the first press conference of the day. Her strident remarks focused around the EU roadmap that has now been endorsed by AOSIS and the LDCs. Some 120 countries are now said to be on board with the proposal, and Brazil and South Africa have made positive noises as well. Hedegaard came out more forcefully than usual, saying "today, an agreement is within reach…EU's roadmap is at the core of the intense negotiations," but that "we must commit, and we all must commit in the same legal form."

She indicated that "success or failure in Durban hangs on the small number of countries [read: the US, China, India] that have not yet committed to the roadmap." A reporter also noted that last night, the US State Department "clarified" a statement that the visibly shaken Todd Stern made yesterday, saying that the US does not in fact support the legally binding EU roadmap. Hedegaard was hopeful that a deal can be reached here in Durban, but warned that "if there is no further movement than what I have seen at 4am yesterday, then I must say I don't think there will be a deal in Durban."

Sudden Action at COP17, But is an Agreement Within Reach?
Hundreds of protestors flood the ICC at the COP17 talks in Durban, South Africa. Meanwhile, the EU roadmap to agreement gains support.

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