The weaving of the Paris Outcome

dovecot-studios-weavingThe unfolding Paris Outcome is a web of complexities, in both the package and the process. In the package itself, there are cross cutting issues; there are a myriad of details; and there are interlocking linkages among Articles and Decision sections that make multiple circles back to each other. It can be a dizzying endeavor to really grasp it all. And there are plenty of threads under a lot of tension.

The process, too, is multi-layered and multi-faceted. We’ve done the in-depth reporting here and here on its various parts, and how it all spins together, and shared a description of this week’s ministerial level action.

After last night’s Party and negotiating group comments on the December 9 draft text, the ministerial-led informal consultations were shifted into open-ended indaba-type consultations (a South-African consensus building approach), on the three key political issues: Differentiation, Support and Ambition. Alongside those consultations were open-ended informal ones on Loss and Damage, Cooperative approaches and mechanisms, Forests, and the Preamble. At this point, we are waiting for a December 10 draft that compiles the work of those early morning negotiations.

For those nervous about getting lost in the web of it all, a short, simple construction of where we are now comes to us today compliments of seasoned South African delegate, Alf Wills:

Reaching a Paris Outcome requires that 3 interrelated levels be addressed:

1) Those High level political issues = Differentiation (how to fairly account for differing levels of development, capacity, and financial resources between Parties for determining responsibilities), Support (how much, from whom, to whom, for what purpose), and Ambition (how much in emissions reduction, toward what goal, and when)

2) Medium level issues = including cycles (for reporting/reviewing/increasing ambition and support), non-market mechanisms, and adaptation

3) Technical issues related to the rules.

According to Mr. Wills, the ministers must solve the top level issues before they can unlock the medium level issues, which will then inform the technical issues. Other negotiators seemed to agree.

Certainly, Mr. Wills construction is a bit simplistic. Among other things, it doesn’t locate loss and damage. Still, it offers a short-hand way to think about the unfolding process, so it doesn’t unravel in your brain.