Friday, December 4, 2009

Lobbyists Drafting Climate Change Treaty

International treaties are a lot like Congressional legislation: if you want a preview of what will be in them, you need to get to be close friends with a lobbyist. The lead lobbying organization at the Copenhagen climate change talks starting next week will be the Climate Action Network, an amalgam of 450 environmental, business and scientific groups worldwide. CAN is already circulating a proposed draft of the new treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol among delegates and hangers on at the Copenhagen conference.

The CAN draft treaty comes complete with all the required legal language to embody international commitments on greenhouse gas reductions, economic wealth transfers to pay for the costs of environmental controls in developing nations, and a framework for a global cap and trade system of emissions futures. Of course, blanks in the draft exist where diplomats and other government functionaries from participating nations can fill in numbers representing each country’s emission and financial commitments, but except for some minor tweaking to satisfy this or that nation’s particular wants or needs, no government leader or group of leaders from the 192 participating nations needs to bother his or her staff with the details of drafting such an important international treaty – the draft already exists, and the tweaking will be mostly handled by lobbyist cell phone conversations, E-mails and twitter tweets from hallway to hotel room during the conference.

Anyone with a blackberry, a laptop and the price of air fare to Denmark can seek to participate in the real, though informal, corridor conversations which will finalize the details of the next climate change treaty, but only those folks who have already worked at establishing trust and confidence from world leaders is likely to have significant input. If you can stand the Danish winter weather, though, and you have a subscription to twitter, it would really be fun to eavesdrop on the conversations.
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