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Copenhagen: the final countdown

road to copenhagen.jpgParties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen are in the final stages of wrangling over the details of a new global climate deal — a potential successor to the Kyoto Protocol. See Nature’s Road to Copenhagen special and the Climate Feedback blog for more coverage.

It’s the final day of the Copenhagen summit, global leaders are on the podium … they think it’s all over. But is it? As the conference flails its way towards a conclusion, Friday afternoon rumours are flying that UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon asked for a general lock-in, requesting that leaders stay overnight (The Guardian); Reuters say the UN deny this story.

Nature’s Jeff Tollefson says nothing new emerged from key speeches by Barack Obama and Wen Jiabao, but the Brazilian president Lula Inacio Luiz Lula da Silva won applause for his comments that Brazil would contribute money to help poorer countries cope with global warming: “Lula invoked God, angels and miracles, and said all three might be necessary in order to reach a meaningful deal today. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was much more practical, suggesting that maybe it’s time to start thinking about 2010.”

At least three draft documents have appeared so far today, variously dropping and reinstating a commitment to achieve a legally binding treaty by December 2010. (AP)

But regardless of the status of a treaty, all four leaders said they would continue with domestic commitments that have already been made.

Saleem Huq, an adaptation expert and former IPCC lead author currently at the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, had a more positive view than the gloom expressed by most quarters: “My take on it is that it’s a success no matter what,” he said, gesturing toward a room full of journalists from all over the world. “It’s a story back home in every country. It’s a much higher level of engagement.”

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