Policy Analysis

A Plea for Reason

By John Drexhage on April 17, 2009
IISD's John Drexhage attended the March/April 2009 climate change talks in Bonn, Germany. Participants were impressed by a change in the tone of U.S. representatives, but a "powerful exception" to the cordial affair reared its head in the conference's final hours. The last item was to cover the conclusions of a somewhat arcane-sounding negotiating group called the "Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex 1 Parties Under the Kyoto Protocol." It's the last phrase ("Annex 1 Parties Under the Kyoto Protocol") that have made these discussions so difficult. "To put it simply," writes Drexhage, "its mandate is to indicate what actions and commitments developed countries will agree to take after 2012 (after the conclusion of the Kyoto Protocol period) to help avoid the serious consequences of climate change. The only problem is that includes everyone but the U.S., since it is the only developed country that did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol. And so we have carried on a discussion now for over two years that, honestly, carries on an Alice in Wonderland quality."