As Scotland’s last surviving patch of snow melts for just the eighth time in 300 years and big-name global leaders head home, COP26 negotiators are getting down to business. The mask-to-mask negotiations are key to hammering out the arcane and important details, but COVID-19 protocols and poor planning by organizers have sidelined negotiators from less wealthy nations most vulnerable to and least responsible for the climate crisis — including in negotiations over how to allocate the UN’s Green Climate Fund, which finances projects in developing countries hardest hit by climate change.
“The deals are made very often outside of the [official negotiating] room,” longtime negotiator Yamide Dagnet of WRI told the AP. That limits the ability of negotiators from developing countries from fully participating because organizers credentialed 39,509 people for a venue with a maximum capacity of 10,000 and internet connections are spotty.
“In the hallway, you meet someone, and that’s where you agree on that comma versus that semicolon, and that’s what’s missing” in virtual meetings, Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, who chairs one of the two main UN negotiating groups, told the AP. (Snow: The Guardian, Gizmodo; Negotiations: AP, Washington Post $; Green Climate Fund: Washington Post $; Credentials: New York Times $)