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What is the best way to fail?

Rachel Kyte's picture

So now the drama really starts ratcheting up inside and out of the

Bella Center in Copenhagen. Outside in the kind of biting cold that

reminds you of standing (before stadium seating) in a fourth division

football match on a Saturday afternoon as a kid, thousands of people

are massing to march on the center - they say 50,000 and on the TV

screen it looks like it could be.

Inside, the entrenched positions see no sign of budging yet and the

negotiations are poised for the second week, normally characterized by

agreement only at the eleventh hour. (By the way: if you want to know

what's going on here, blow by blow, then read the Earth Negotiations

Bulletin (from the safety of your warm comfortable abode) - an

institution of international sustainable development for 20 years, it

is as ever indispensable (disclosure: i sometimes used to help them

out)).

But part of the physics of negotiation also involves momentum. And

here there are signs of concern at the international level. One way to

look at what is going well here, compared with years gone by, is that

national action is under way. The stories of success will inspire the actions

of middle income and other growing economies - the Koreas, Mexicos,

Brazils, South Africas of this world, where national action will lead

to progress and financing will come from different sources.

Internationally, the financial discussions are stuck: there is no money

and, yes, the fast start money is being stitched together (because there

is no money) and the long term financial commitments look precarious

still.

Soros suggested using SDRs for climate activities:

a neat idea on first glance because it would allow already allocated

funds to be used when there is little other funding lying around, yet

SDRs are the liquidity needed if crises occur and as such need to be

held in reserve. But, credit should be given for out of the box

thinking, because the tracks we are on now seem to leading not very

far, not very fast.

This begs two questions: how can we pursue the compacts we need at

the international level when the processes we have today seem so wholly

inadequate or inappropriate. And then here in Copenhagen as a very wise

friends put it today, "what is the best way to fail?"

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