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Rory, I purposefully did not keep up with Copenhagen, stayed away from the internet for the most part, read no news and listened to no radio. I doggedly ran away from anyone who mentioned the word Copenhagen (among other words) during deep December, forcing myself to take a mental holiday so that I could start 2010 on a relatively sane note. Whether I have succeeded or not is moot, but anyhow, now I am trying to play catch up.

Have you seen this article? What do you make of it? I ask because I value your opinion highly: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/22/copenhagen-climate-change-mark-lynas

Hope you yourself managed to get through what must have been a very difficult festive season for you, with a modicum of sanity intact.

Best,
Audrey

Audrey, thanks for pointing out the Guardian article. There are plenty of other perspectives on the main point of Mark Lynas' piece - which is the question of who is to blame for the Copenhagen outcome - and lots one could say in response. But I will just say that this is the messy reality of politics, and the real problem is that the final two days of political negotiations seemed to take no account of the past two years of technical meetings following Bali.

I find that bizarre. In theory, if the technocrats had done their jobs, the politicians could have rubber-stamped a pre-ordained multilateral agreement. But maybe that's just naive.

As an aside on the politics, I find it curious that South Africa chose to embed itself in the small group that hammered out the final text, highlighting a point I made in this post, which is that South Africa seems to be squandering its potential leadership role among the poorer countries that objected to the final text. I still can't figure out if Zuma has a plan that led him to join that exclusive club, or if he was in fact a pawn in the game.

Like Lynas, I feel quite despondent about Copenhagen, which partly explains my nearly four-week silence on this blog. Thanks for yanking out of my stupor. I need more readers like you.

All this hopping madly from lily pad to lily pad playing what increasingly looks like nothing but a great big political game. Next stop, Mexico, where no doubt the only real work done will be a decision made on the next venue. One would have to be psychic to figure out Pres Zuma's motives and strategy, because there's been not a whisper, not even a spin-whisper between the lines of which one could read. Or not any whisper that I've heard, anyway. All one can do is try to look at proxies, like: Well ok then, who are his friends and what do THEY want? And speculate wildly. Very disconcerting.

Yes, it probably is naive to think that after two years (!!!) a multilateral agreement could have been stamped. Too many people keeping too many options open.

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    Maintained by Rory Williams
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    I also write a weekly newspaper column in the Cape Times.

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