Listening to press conferences after each of the climate talks over recent years is to listen to well crafted positive gloss of officials trying to present abject failure as progress. UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, speaking at the closing press conference on Saturday after last week’s climate talks in Tianjin, China, said:
“I told you at the press briefing at the beginning of this week that governments this week had to address together what is doable in Cancun, and what may have to be left until after Cancun. They have actually done that.”
The bickering between China and the West has left very little in the ‘doable’ category. Even so, the fact that parties have some sort of agreement over what it might be possible, to agree upon in the Cancun climate talks in December, is seen as progress. In a sense it is progress. Discussions about discussions are better than no discussions about discussions. I agree with Ms Figueres as she went on to explain the critical importance of “turning dry texts into a set of keys that unlock a new level of climate action - among rich and poor, business and consumers, governments and citizens.”
We can expect a lot more positive gloss and well crafted words in the lead up to the Cancun climate talks. I have a view on whether the world leaders will ‘unlock a new level of climate action’ but I will keep that to myself for now. Let us give them every encouragement and then hold them to account for the outcome.