The Climate Summit is in disarray wails the Guardian, all because of a leaked position paper which suggests an attempted rich country stitch-up, or something like that.

Points to note:

  • this is above all a Negotiation on a vast and therefore ultimately simple scale
  • Poor countries say: Rich countries caused the problem, so they should pay to clean it up
  • Rich countries say: Some of you Poor countries are not so poor any more, and are causing huge new problems. We’ll pay something. But this is a team effort. Oh, and no blank cheques
  • S/he who writes the core draft text to be put in front of World Leaders (after frantic haggling) has an advantage in defining the process; someone has to write that text, since without it the whole thing will be a fiasco
  • the essence of any achievable deal has to a paper which:
    • offers something practical and significant but non-binding by way of emissions cuts
    • makes some serious Western money available for clean technological advances in the developing world
    • has some sensible mechanisms for achieving all that, preferably with much less UN
  • in other words, something curiously like the leaked paper
  • once the paper appears, a huge choreographed row has to erupt, with those who think it is not good enough screaming blue murder
  • within the camp of those who think it is not good enough will be:
    • a few big developing countries (India and China etc) who know how the game has to go but are pressing hard for More
    • many smaller countries who rightly fear that they don’t count for much as the endgame looms
    • and a gazillion NGOs whose only role is to scream blue (or green) murder to add quotes for the Guardian

All of which looks to be going to plan nicely: the louder the squealing, the more likely a deal.

Or it does collapse in disarray.