Tension increased on Friday as talks were suspended in early evening pending a new draft text. The tired negotiators eventually got the new text at 2:30am only to be asked by the co-chairs to accept it there and then so the session could close and the talks draw to a conclusion overnight. The first (of many) request for more time to properly assess the text came from Cuba. You can have half an hour was the response.

That’s half an hour to consider a decision that lays the foundations of a deal aiming to avert the biggest crisis ever faced by humanity. Perhaps it was a slip of the tongue suggested Nigeria; surely Africa – a continent of 1 billion people – and China were not so insignificant as to not be consulted on this?

Die-in action for the forgotten voices at COP20  (Photo: Luka Tomac, FoEI)
Die-in action for the forgotten voices at COP20 (Photo: Luka Tomac, FoEI)

One by one, Malaysia, Venezuela, Nigeria, Bolivia, Sudan, Tuvalu, Nicaragua, Tanzania weighed in behind Cuba, many attesting that they had not been consulted on the new text at all. Certain other parties (most of whom remained silent) clearly had seen the text. From the industrialized world, only the EU spoke up to support the call of the global south for more time.

At 3:30am the Co-chairs gave in and closed the session til morning to give parties time to consult amongst themselves and with Governments at home.

As the session re-opens on Saturday morning its clear that the text presented last night was not so similar to previous versions as the Co-chair had implied, and contains the serious problems developing countries were anticipating.

13:30pm Saturday

The G77 group of developing countries and China, and other key negotiating blocks were firm in their opposition to the text, giving reasons put forward throughout the 2 weeks. Developed countries claimed not to be happy with the text either (without really explaining why) but willing to compromise and support the text in order to make Lima a success.

Very clear that a consensus has not been reached.  Its up to the President now to come up with a new text, and he plans to go about that through a series of 10 minute consultations with all the negotiating blocks.

Soonest we are likely to see a new text is in 3 hours time, but it could be another very long night ahead.

02:19 am Sunday

At 11:35pm the COP plenary reconvened and a new decision text was distributed. The President offered parties an hour to consider it. Almost exactly to the hour that parties trooped back to the plenary, to adopt the text within minutes to sustained applause.

Sadly, while the prospect of bed is worth such applause the new text is not. See our comment at http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/LimaResult

I’m off to bed.