And so Copenhagen begins

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Cop15_logo_img Editor's note: Rachel Kyte is a Vice President, Business Advisory Services at International Finance Corporation. She is attending this year's UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. You can follow her on Twitter.

And so Copenhagen begins. Or as the campaign posters peer out from you everywhere, is it time for “Hopenhagen”. The mix of Christmas lights, the early dark afternoons and a globe or photo display on every square do give the city an extraordinarily festive air as the expected 60,000 participants and hangers on arrive.

So, with hope in our hearts and something acutely more diminishing in our minds, we enter into the battle of the squared brackets.

The $10bn that is now being talked of as the “quick start” – sounds like a sort of feeding program for sickly implementation – is of course more than the $0 that was being talked about a few weeks ago, but is short of the emerging consensus number of around $200bn (depending on whether its WEF, Project Catalyst, IEA or World Bank Group that’s counting) needed each year for a decade. But such was the walking back of expectations in recent weeks, we may be euphoric, or is it the Christmas lights?

Carol Ann Duffy, the UK’s Poet Laureate put it well in the 12th stanza of her Christmas Poem The Twelve Days of Christmas 2009 by Carol Ann Duffy - Radio Times – did they twiddle their thumbs or hear the drums. The drums it seems were loud enough for Obama and now Singh to make the journey for the high level segment.

And then reading today’s Observer, the very funny Sandy Toksvig notes that in Danish there is a word for beauty through simplicity – “enkeldt”. It may be a useful thing to bear in mind as the tendency of the negotiations and the solutions spirals into the complex in the search for compromise. At the end of the day, we need a solution that allows those with no access to energy to have some, and those of us who already do, to be efficient and green in its generation and use. There is all the rest of course, but we cannot avoid the energy infrastructure story at the heart of the climate change debate. A beautiful solution would be as simple one as possible.


Rachel Kyte

Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change

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