In case anyone is unclear, because it’s hard to get the news from the news, the advancements in Durban mean the process, while incremental, still has traction.
Initial discussions centering on an international climate agreement first began at the Rio Summit in 1992. The agreement was negotiated for five years before being adopted in 1997 as the Kyoto Protocol. It was another four years before detailed rules for the implementation of the KP were approved in 2001. It officially entered force in 2005, thirteen years hence. This year, 2012, marks the end of the KP’s first commitment period. All this scrambling to sign the Durban Platform, twenty years in the making, is another train stop along the way, in essence to say, “what is next and who is still on board?”
It takes this long because we can’t ask for everything at once. The US State Department has a mandate they are not legally allowed to negotiate for something at the international level that they are unable to implement at the national level. In fact, it is a convention truism that countries will not agree inside a negotiation room to anything they were not already planning to do.
In reality, the world as a collective is not ready for the treaty it should be signing. But we will be. In the meantime, we will continue to address all the drivers and respect all the safeguards. We will train the tree measurers and come to terms with true national sovereignty. The pace of this process, both progress and regress, is not for nothing. Redaction, bracketing, and derailment. Word by word. Insertion and accord.