CLIMATE -- December 16, 2009 at 9:53 AM EDT
Country Leaders to Bring New Urgency to Climate Talks
FROM COPENHAGEN: The U.S. delegation of negotiators cancelled yet another press conference Wednesday, sparing themselves a head to head match-up with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who was scheduled for a simultaneous -- but separate -- appearance next door.
Chavez, meanwhile, appeared to relish his time before representatives of the parties and conference-goers. "There is a ghost running through the streets of Copenhagen," Chavez said. "Capitalism is that ghost." Chavez maintained that theme through his remarks saying "if the climate was a bank, a capitalist bank, they would have saved it."
Chavez was one of six heads of state to address negotiators in the first high-level session Wednesday, the beginning of a new phase of the negotiations, says Paul Bledsoe of the National Commission on Energy Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
When nation's leaders become involved, it "puts immense pressure on the negotiators to come up with a deal otherwise the heads of state will be subject to political criticism, but more broadly it will seem like this issue is insolvable -- I mean if 120 heads of state can't figure it out how can it be solved," he said.
Bledsoe, who was also involved in Kyoto Protocol negotiations said the process of negotiations has looked very similar to how Kyoto was formed 12 years ago. The major differences will be the presence of these leaders he said, and the desire to nail down commitments for emissions reductions negotiated with the major developed countries.
If the leaders of the largest emitters in the world, including China and the United States, aren't able to come to an agreement they could face derision at home for that failure, said Bledsoe, but "it will probably take that level of pressure to get a successful agreement," he said.