The two most important places for diplomacy, international climate this year and past, have been turned into field hospitals.
In Glasgow, the giant centre Scottish Event Campus (SEC) is now filled with beds. Until last week, was scheduled to that this centre would host in November the talks annual of the United Nations on the climate. The coronavirus has been forced to postpone the conference, known as COP26until 2021.
In Madrid, the colossal fairground Ifema now it looks more like a scene from the Spanish flu of 1918 that the site of the COP25 last year, which attracted more than 26,000 people with their environment, carnival, and which featured personalities such as Harrison Ford and Greta Thunberg.
Like all the others, the diplomatic climate, have replaced the in-person meetings with video-conferencing. However, as you probably have already highlighted, working from home is not the same. There are more distractions. Things move more slowly, even for the slow standards of the climate diplomacy. In addition, it seems that the human touch counts.
The climate-meeting preliminary as initially scheduled in Bonn in June, now postponed until October, are essential for the technocrats begin to draw up agreements prior to the COP of the end of the year. In climate diplomacy, the personalities really are key.
Unlike smaller meetings such as the G20, the conversations that take place in the meetings of the COP are focused on diplomatic charismatic and talented of smaller countries. Representatives of the Marshall Islands or Costa Rica can change things. The friendships forged during many years of negotiations have sometimes allowed that nations opposition to find a middle point.
The physical spaces of meeting also imported.
At first glance, of course, to postpone the COP26 it seems a bad news for the climate.
It is expected that the countries presenting more ambitious goals for the first time since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015.
Some fear that the sense of urgency and the momentum that has been created during many months around climate action will go away now that the world is facing the worst public health crisis in more than a generation. In effect, it is a real risk. But it is also true that the failure of the COP25 in Madrid last December has not really been a debacle for the climate movement global.
In the following months, large forces in the private sector as BP and BlackRock they made big promises green. Even billionaires in Davos became the climate change in the main theme this year.
The debate on climate action global continues to live in the midst of this pandemic, as evidenced by the dozens of essays published by scholars and expert groups in the last few weeks asking for a greening of the coronavirus.
”The response to the pandemic of COVID-19 shows that the nations of the world can join together to confront global challenges, and that the political landscape can change quickly when there is sufficient political will, ” he said Alden Meyer, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists. He has seen how it is the global cooperation from the inside, as that has been a witness of all the climate negotiations of the UN from Kyoto.
For when the next major UN climate conference finally perform in Glasgow, after which the field hospital is no longer, perhaps we can see signs of acceleration.