8:47am GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves Mr and Mrs United Nations cordially invite you to the wedding of their beloved protocol: Kyoto to the European Union... 

Campaigners from Time For Climate Justice pull the first of countless actions and media stunts planned over the next 48 hours. The big NGOs here are worried by the lack of urgency in the negotiations. In the corridors, huddles of campaigners can be seen gathering: "I've never been to a COP that's so relaxed... the presidency just wasted a day... we need to step it up..."
Live Update

Image by Adam Groves

9:27am GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
If you only listen to one COP17 climate change song today (and it might be a challenge to find more than one), let it be this one... activists from HealthyPlanetUK surely have a viral video on their hands? Ode to Kyoto: genius!

Ode to Kyoto - Save the Protocol at COP17   

Video by healthyplanetuk

10:11am GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
UK Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, reaffirms the EU position on the Kyoto Protocol. They'll only sign up to a second commitment period (thereby keeping the treaty alive) if other big greenhouse gas emitters indicate they'll join a global agreement in the near future (by 2015 at the latest, is the EU demand).
GregBarkerMP: #COP17 Very sober atmosphere at EU Umbrella meeting, real determination not to budge on KP2 without clear roadmap 2 Global deal
10:21am GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
The environment minister from Greece is speaking at the high-level plenary as you can see in our Justin transmission. This is not terribly significant except....

the next scheduled speakr to follow Greece is Todd Stern of US..

but the order i never reliable let's see

10:23am GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
Todd Stern has been delayed briefly by a protest in the hall but is now under way
10:35am GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
Liz Gallagher of UK non-profit group, E3G, sums up the mood here this morning:

something needs to change... we're sleepwalking into a particularly bad outcome... I think we might see some of the actors here making a stand come tomorrow

Watch Liz's update below...

Liz Gallagher, of E3G, gives an update from COP17   

Video by OneWorldTV

10:38am GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
as you heard in our transmission of the main Durban plenary just now, Todd Stern, US special envoy on climate change referred to the big agenda items for the conference - a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol and agreement on the future architecture of the UN climate regime. He said:

we are deeply engaged in these issues and committed to find workable solutions

This view is not shared by most observers of the Durban talks. The protest which delayed the start of Stern's speech was almost certainly motivated by the obstructive approach of the US negotiating team.

Take one example. The draft negotiating text relating to future funding of the Green Cliamte Fund includes proposals for a shipping levy which could raise $10 billion per annum for the fund. A considerable majority of government and NGO interests are delighted with this development.

Except on key player, the US, which is doing its level best to get the reference to shipping removed. I have seen one report from CBS News which claims it has been successful:

The U.S. has blocked suggestions of a levy on international shipping and aviation. It opposes suggestions by a high-ranking panel to impose a tax of $25 for every tonne of carbon emissions.

But I'm hoping this is a premature conclusion.
10:47am GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
this Climate Action Network press briefing that you're currently viewing in our live transmission will be followed immediately at 1300 (GMT+2) by a briefing (from a different room) by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

We haven't heard enough in these briefings from AOSIS. Although small in votes they are hugely vulnerable to climate change. They are the hardliners here - they have no time to wait until 2015 (EU proposal) to complete negotiations for a new agreement on emissions, let alone 2020 (US vague proposal).

AOSIS wants agreement to be completed in 2012 alongside high level ministerial talks to address the gigatonne gap.

We need to hear how they are pushing these big asks in these closing days of the talks.
10:58am GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
As you heard, Kelly Dent from Oxfam has just said:

in the next 48 hours the European Union needs to show leadership. We know that the Least Developed Countries and the Small Island States want swift action and require EU support.

Yesterday, we reported here on some evidence that the EU/US relationship has taken a step backwards. Alex Stark, the US tracker on the Adopt-a Negotiator project investigated this EU development more thoroughly in her overnight article.

The EU also seemed to fall out with China earlier in the week. Maybe Connie Hedegaard is getting closer to the poorer countries.
11:15am GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
You're watching speakers from the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) addressing the media.

One small thing I picked up yesterday is that one of the island states is blocking progress in discussions about finance for the REDD scheme (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation). I think it may have been Tuvalu.

I'm not sure that Tuvalu is a key player in the forest debate. It's just possible that the islands are creating negotiating leverage for their more urgent needs. Certainly REDD is struggling and the forest countries will be looking for ways to break the logjam.
11:31am GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
following up what I was saying earlier about the European Union, the key quote from this session with the Alliance of Small Island States was:

we share a lot in common with the Euripean Union on these issues

The point is that, if the EU backs down at the last moment on its 2015 timetable (as many believe it will in order to preserve the Kyoto Protocol at all costs), will AOSIS and the Least Developed Countries be able to push back against that?
11:48am GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
As you're hearing, Todd Stern is defending the US against accusations of a "timeout until 2020".

His defence is entirely based on the outcome of the Cancun conference last year - which does indeed require lots of things to be done before 2020 and which US supports.

He's not mentioning that that Cancun Agreements ducked the big issue of emissions reductions. The US signed up to the Bali Action Plan in 2007 committing itself to a parallel agreement to a second Kyoto Protocol commitment period. That means a legally binding emissions reductions regime from 2012.

Now he's talking about 2020 as though Bali never happened. That's why his position is untenable.
12:02pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
you're watching a Greenpeace International press briefing recorded earlier today. It's focused on the situation with REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation).

And it's a very depressing picture that the speakers are presenting. I haven't heard a single good word for what's happening in the negotiations....

....except that it's not over until the fat lady sings - and the singing doesn't happen in these events until the final hours tomorrow.
12:12pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
Jake Schmidt, of the US non-profit the Natural Resources Defense Council:

...we need to stitch together a package which can actually begin to reduce emissions and generate funding, and we're a long way from that as of Thursday morning... the chances of success right now are low, but countries know where the package is, I think and they just need to get in that room and put it together...

Jake Schmidt, NRDC, gives an update on Thursday morning, week 2, from COP17   

Video by OneWorldTV

12:17pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
you're watching a recording of the Africa Group press briefing recorded in Durban a few hours ago.

The Africa Group represents 54 African countries. It is led by Meles Zenawi, prime minister of Ethiopia. It's disappointing that Mr Zenawi is not appearing before the press. They would undoubtledly have extra questions for him!

12:31pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
Tosi Mpanu Mpanu seems to be saying that the Europeans might offer only a political commitment to sustaining the Kyoto Protocol. He implies that they are citing difficulty in the "complex ratification" process in Europe as the excuse.

That sounds new. How could the EU justify its push for a roadmap to a long term legally binding agreement if its own commitment to the Kyoto Protocol is not legally binding?

12:36pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
John Lanchberry of the UK non-profit, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, pin points one of the core difficulties of these negotiations: 

The US don't really want a heck of a lot. They say they want a legally binding treaty but they have no idea when - certainly post 2020. What they really want is China in an agreement with them, but even there, that's just to get the Congress more on side, so it'll ratify a deal, but it only raises the chances of Congress doing that from about zero to about one percent... So although the administration thinks climate change is serious, it's all down to the Congress if you want a new treaty, and the congress ain't going to do one.

...with other countries reluctant to push ahead while the US neglects to take responsibility for its emissions, the result is a logjam.

John Lanchbery of RSPB on the penultimate day of COP17   

Video by OneWorldTV

12:59pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
the main plenary session of the Durban climate talks is due to restart in a couiple of minutes. The first two slots are scheduled for Brazil and UK and we'll show those live, assuming the schedule hasn't changed.

Then we'll switch to a press briefing by the Bangladesh delegation
1:02pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
Ministers from the Alliance Of Small Island States (AOSIS) have been praising the EU for demanding a global deal by 2015, and for offering to keep the Kyoto Protocol alive in the meantime if a roadmap to this global deal can be agreed here in Durban. Watch out for a joint press conference due to be held by the EU and vulnerable countries later this afternoon...
BBCRBlack: Changing times #cop17 #unfccc - EU ministers to hold joint press conf later with vulnerable countries #climate
1:14pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
this is Brazil speaking at the main plenary, way beyond the 3 minute allocation.

Chris Huhne from UK is due on next

1:24pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
Chris Huhne sounds in uncompromising mood

the roadmap and a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol cannot be separated and we will not let them be

He says the "vast majority" of coutnries supports this view. It's that minority that remains the problem.

1:25pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace, tells us that the US is issuing a 'death warrant' to small island states and Africa...
1:26pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Jeffrey Allen
U.S. youth are just finishing up a press conference here after a young New Jersey resident - Abigail Borah - was ejected for shouting out a prepared speech from the back of the plenary just as U.S. lead negotiator Todd Stern was about to begin speaking.

She said:

I am speaking on behalf of the United States of America because my negotiators cannot.  The obstructionist Congress has shackled justice and delayed ambition for far too long.  I am scared for my future.  2020 is too late to wait.  We need an urgent path to a fair ambitious and legally binding treaty.  You must take responsibility to act now, or you will threaten the lives of youth and the world's most vulnerable.  You must set aside partisan politics and let science dictate decisions.  You must pledge ambitious targets to lower emissions not expectations.  Citizens across the world are being held hostage by stillborn negotiations. We need leaders who will commit to real change, not empty rhetoric.  Keep your promises. Keep our hope alive. 2020 is too late to wait.

From the monitors around the conference center, Borah's speech could not be heard -- the camera stayed on Stern, who stood silently at the dais, waiting. Applause was heard from outside the plenary after Borah finished.


Video by SustainUS

1:58pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
Martin Kaiser, of Greenpeace Germany, tells us that China has a choice to make: does it ally with the US on a 2020 date for a global agreement, or join the EU on a clear roadmap to mitigate climate change...
2:20pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
Alf Wills, lead negotiator for South Africa, responds to a quick question about the tone of the talks here in Durban:

It's Thursday... everyone's irate on Thursday of the last week but I'm still hoping to see a deal stitched together and adopted tomorrow... I have to be optimistic, we're the host
2:27pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Jeffrey Allen
More on the US youth demands to Congress, Obama, and his negotiators here in Durban...

At the press conference after Abigail Borah pre-empted US lead negotiator Todd Stern's plenary speech (see video and text below), the organization she was representing here, SustainUS, played the following video. The key message: "We're still waiting for American leadership in the fight against climate change. Now more than ever, it's too late to wait."

US Youth say "2020: It's too late to wait"   

Video by SustainUS

2:31pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
The Indian journalist asked the Bangladesh minister the 64,000 rupee question  - which concerns India's role.

Bangladesh is one of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) which are lining up with the European Union in favour of continuity of the Kyoto Protocol combined with a roadmap to agree a legally binding framework for all countries by 2015.

India is happy with the first part but not the second. So there is a potential conflict between neighbours. But Dr Mahmud was too diplomatic to acknowledge that - he just said that "India's role is very vital."

Europe appears to have cancelled a press briefing that was billed to be a joint session with the LDCs. These positions appear pretty unmovable. It's going to take some very clever wording to get something out of Durban.
2:50pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
Murray Worthy, Policy Officer for the World Development Movement, gives us an update on the Green Climate Fund. The role of private finance is still worrying some Latin American countries...

Murray Worthy - World Development Movement COP17   

Video by OneWorldTV

3:24pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Jeffrey Allen
Annie Petsonk of the Environmental Defense Fund is perhaps the only person here in Durban who carries a copy of both the U.S. Constitution and the Kyoto Protocol in her shoulder bag -- and whips them out regularly to explain what's going on. So we thought she would be a good person to explain the importance of extending the Kyoto Protocol, negotiating a broader long-term agreement on climate change, and the role of the United States and other key countries.

On that broader agreement, Annie explains that there are currently 3 options on the table:

1. A new legally binding protocol to bring more of the world's countries under an obligation to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Negotiations would happen next year and a new treaty would enter into force by 2015.

2. Everyone commits to negotiate an agreement that would be legally binding, but without specifying a deadline or timetable.

3. A so-called "series of decisions" about next steps is agreed here, but nothing legally binding would be on the horizon.

The U.S., of course, favors option #3. Annie's all about option #1. She breaks down all the key issues, even getting into the role of Congress and corporate lobbyists, but here's her key point:

There's nothing like a legal obligation with a target and a dealine for undertaking a commitment to focus the minds of companies and countries and communities on getting the job done

Annie Petsonk - Environmental Defense Fund - COP17   

Video by OneWorldTV

3:25pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
If these talks end on time, on Friday night, we'll have a fudged deal. If they're still going on in the early hours of Saturday morning, it means there is a fight... which means someone is fighting for something good

...since there is little chance of a deal being neatly tied up by tomorrow evening, an all-nighter on Friday could be a sign that we're working towards a meaningful outcome, according to Keith Allott of WWF.
3:36pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Jeffrey Allen
The United States has been accused time and again over the past 10 days of trying to block progress on many key issues. Perhaps the biggest issue of them all is a mandate to negotiate a new agreement that would bring more countries under legally binding obligations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The EU is pushing for such a mandate, with a new treaty to come into effect by 2015.

In his press conference earlier today, Todd Stern said: "It is inaccurate to say we are blocking a legally binding agreement."

David Turnbull, the head of Climate Action Network, an umbrella group of 700 organizations working on climate change around the world, had an interestesting response on twitter. Perhaps even more interesting was that Turnbull's response was then re-tweeted by the head of the French negotiating team, Paul Watkinson.
david_turnbull: Just placing landmines along the way RT @climatebrad: Stern: "It is inaccurate to say we are blocking a legally binding agreement" #cop17
3:40pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
Amidst rumours that informal meetings are taking place in the Hilton Hotel across the road, Javier Diaz Carmona, Costa Rica Climate Change Ambassador, reassures us that he is comfortable with the transparency of the negotiations.
3:55pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Jeffrey Allen
Ensure that big decisions can be made openly, in plenary, and not in closed-door meetings where the U.S. can bully everybody like they did in Copenhagen.

Stephen Guibeault explains how transparency can be key to ensuring powerful countires aren't able to strong-arm their way to unbalanced deals in the final hours, When the U.S. and Canada tried to block an agreement in Bali four years ago, he says, country after country stepped to the microphone and publicly urged them to get out of the way. And it worked.

Call for Transparency at COP17 - "Big decisions should be made openly... not behind closed doors."   

Video by OneWorldTV

4:21pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
In this briefing, Wendel Trio of Greenpeace welcomes the leadership of the Euroepan Union in Durban but wants more to be done back home. In particular that the EU should raise its 2020 emissions reductions target from 20% to 30% and beyond.

He didn't mention the figures but they support his case - which is that Europe has already reduced its 1990 emissions by about 17%. It's not a big ask to go to 30%.
4:40pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
You're now watching a new film about Rwanda, released at a function in Durban yesterday.

Rwanda: Emerging in a Changing Climate is co-produced by the Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP).

The film provides a great example of a country putting ‘climate compatible development’ into practice without a global deal, and one that can inspire and inform others, internationally.
4:43pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
Is this a game-changer? Jake Schmidt of the NRDC tells us that The small island states and the least developed countries look to have come to an agreement with the EU on a deal. This may well explain the sudden change of tack by Canada, and Todd Stern's eagerness to reassure reporters this morning that the US supports an EU roadmap - neither of those countries will want to be seen to be blocking an alliance of vulnerable and progressive countries. China, India, US... it's your move...
5:11pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Jeffrey Allen
Canada's surprise announcement that it supports starting negotiations now on a binding agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol and take affect by 2015 "has the potential to help unlock some of the key blockages that we've seen so far," says Annie Petsonk of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Developing countries in Africa and other parts of the world have been adamant about wanting to keep the Kyoto Protocol in effect after its first commitment period expires at the end of next year. Canada's statement appears to be saying we should launch negotiations here in Durban on a new treaty that could create a new home for key pieces of the Kyoto Protocol, Petsonk told me. That could be the beginnings of a compromise position that would appease the least developed countries and meet important conditions of the major industrialized countries (bringing all major emitters into a deal that imposes the same level of commitment on all parties).

With the Canadian Minister being so forthright about it, that certainly has raised the bar for other Ministers who might have been more reluctant.

Annie told me she doesn't know what lies behind Canada's statement -- it might be the first public sign of a coalescing of opinions on a compromise solution (which she hopes), or it might be Canada making a first step on its own to encourage others to follow. For the moment, she's optimistic.

It's too soon to tell overall whether we'll get an outcome, but the Canadian Ministerial statement I think is an important signal. I don't want to build it up too much, but there certainly has been a ferment of activity around and following it that gives me reason to be hopeful.

Or, there might be something more mischieveous going on. My colleage Adam Groves has been speaking to others about these recent developments...
5:12pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
Wendel Trio of Greenpeace tells us that the US and Canada may be trying to undermine the united EU/AOSIS/LDC position by indicating agreement while at the same time attaching conditions that they know to be unpalatable for vulnerable countries. The goal, he says, is to make sure it's these developing countries who take the blame if there is no deal. All eyes on China and India now, to see whether they fall behind the EU or US.
5:45pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
The word in the corridors is that the meeting between the EU, AOSIS and the Least Developed Countries was brokered by Denmark and Gambia - who then brought their respective blocs on board. Negotiators claim the alliance represents around 120 countries who now back a roadmap for a global deal by 2015. The Danes are said to hold some hope that China might also come on board - on the basis that, domestically, they could live up to any commitments made at the international level. The same can't be said for the US. 
6:24pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, indicates that Brazil is willing to bound by a legally binding deal if other big economies also come on board. No mention of the time scale they foresee though...
CHedegaardEU: Interesting development: got confirmed that Brazil DOES support to be legally bound if other big economies are
6:36pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
Pablo Solon, former lead negotiator of Bolivia, checks the new-found optimism in an interview we recorded this evening:

The richest nations are trying to escape from their responsibility... that is what's it's all about. What is going to come out of Durban? Very low pledges... Here, the discussion is on the form and not on the substance.

He goes on to accuse developing country negotiators of being naive if they feel the negotiations are a transparent process that reflect and incorporate their positions...

Pablo Solon - On the penultimate day of COP17   

Video by OneWorldTV

7:04pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
Just walked past Kumi Naidoo, Nnimmo Bassey and Meena Raman, in deep discussion with about 5 or 6 other top-level people from some of the word's most powerful activism organisations. Oh to be in on that conversation...
8:19pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
Following an afternoon of frenetic activity here at the International Conference Centre, all has gone quiet. That's because the ministers have crossed over to an adjacent building for an informal discussion - an 'indaba' - we're waiting for them to come out now. In the meantime, here is Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists with an update:
8:46pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
The leader of the Green Party in Canada, Elizabeth May, gives us an update on her country's role at these talks, following reports that Canada has suddenly changed tack and is now calling for a deal in 2015. But 'new' the Canadian position comes with some important conditions that make an agreement unlikely in reality. Elizabeth's take on it:

the impossibility of it, but the attraction of how nice it sounds, make it an unhelpful element in the negotiations... sadly, we're just as awful as we always seemed.

Canada "Just as Awful as We Always Seemed" on Climate Change, Says MP Elizabeth May   

Video by OneWorldTV

8:59pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Jeffrey Allen
Ministers are meeting in an indaba right now to try to hammer out some of the more delicate political issues. What's an indaba? According to Africanderisms, a glossary of South African colloquial words and phrases, it's "a native council meeting for the discussion of business of importance to the tribe."

The French lead negotiator, Paul Watkinson, appears to be livetweeting from inside the room. I would guess this is the first indaba ever livetweeted. COP17 makes history.
pwatkinson: #COP17 Indaba minister Chris Huhne of UK on consultations on the review
10:14pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Bill Gunyon
Here's today's pacemaker in the Durban negotiations recording a pivotal moment. Connie Hedegaard's tweet is a few hours old BUT it says that she met with the African Group and the small island states.

Most reports that I saw claimed the the European Commissioner's meeting was with the Least Developed Countries (which include countries like Bangladesh and Nepal) - others refer to "vulnerable countries". Neither equates with the African Group (which covers 54 countries in sub-Saharan Africa).

These points of detail may come to matter more as we try to pin down exactly which parties support the EU.

CHedegaardEU: Very constructive meetings w the African Group and AOSIS. Also here very strong support for the EU's roadmap and determination to get a deal
10:21pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Peter
Are we heading for a surprisingly positive outcome or what some are calling a slow-motion train wreck? OneClimate's Jeff Allen looks back at the penultimate day of the negotiations for US cable news.

Jeff Allen reports ahead of the climax to the UN Climate Summit   

Video by OneWorldTV

11:51pm GMT, 8 Dec update from Adam Groves
Claudio Salerno, Venezuela's Lead Negotiator, infamously cut her hand open in bloody protest at the COP15 conference in Copenhagen. She has no plans to do the same here though, : "we need agreement, we need to get out of Durban with a good feeling... we need good news". Watch the interview below for her full update on the status of the talks...

Claudia Salerno, Venezuela's Lead Negotiator, ahead of the final day of COP17   

Video by OneWorldTV

12:04am GMT update from Adam Groves
Greg Barker, UK Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, puts us on notice:

I'm not overly optimistic at this point... the result we need is not just a KP2, but we need a very clear path to an ambitious global treaty. Anything less would be a very pyrrhic victory, and it's by no means clear that that can be delivered by this COP.

Greg Barker, UK Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, ahead of the final day of #COP17   

Video by OneWorldTV

1:02am GMT update from Adam Groves
Jeff and I do our best to round up Thursday's news. We'll be back in a few hours to live-blog the final day from the conference... 

News Round-up Heading into Final Day at COP17   

Video by OneWorldTV

2:06am GMT update from Bill Gunyon
For those of you who relish a little close textual analysis first thing in the morning, here's a useful appraisal of the latest draft negotiation document on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This work has been done by the team in Durban from India's Centre for Science and Environment.

The CDM is an instrument of the Kyoto Protocol that facilitates the transfer of capital from richer to poorer countries for investment in low carbon technologies.

It's been controversial to put it mildly. This ABN interview with Martin Hession, chair of the CDM Executive Board, doesn't hesitate to challenge him on the sensitive issues.

Future of the UN's Clean Development Mechanism   

Video by ABNDigital

2:21am GMT update from Bill Gunyon
Here's another very technical topic to get out of the way in our daily round-up. Chris Lang, publisher of redd-monitor.org, has pulled together this really thorough summary of the state of play on the subject of REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation).

Lang restrains himself from expressing an opinon, but it's not exactly a secret that forest specialists are deeply unhappy with events in Durban. If you derive perverse pleasure in seeing environmentalists in deep despair, then replay the recording of yesterday's Greenpeace press conference.

I'm not going into any details here because this OneClimate blog has generally steered clear of the layers of technical issues that lie beneath the primary task of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is not because they are unimportant but, if we tried to do everything justice, the blog would stretch all the way to Cape Town.
2:41am GMT update from Bill Gunyon
Politicians from the small island states threatened with rising sea levels are forced to control exasperation with dignity in these UN climate events.

Here's the chair of the AOSIS Group, Grenada's environment minister Karl Hood, responding to a question from the media:

I would love for the scientists to speak to the negotiators who are asking us to wait until 2020. Because if you're saying now that 1.5 degrees (rise in temperature) is not possible, then you are asking us to accept annihilation. That's the difficulty that I face.

COP17: "Are You Asking Us To Accept Annihilation?"   

Video by climatebrad

3:21am GMT update from Bill Gunyon
For the second day running, a relatively small national youth activist group grabbed the headlines at the Durban climate talks. This time it was US student, Abigail Borah, who succeeded in disrupting Todd Stern's speech to the main plenary.

It hasn't been an easy conference for the bigger environmental campaign groups, not least due to the touchy security arrangements. But the fortnight has slipped by all too quickly and they must get busy today. As the awful prospect of another lost decade sinks in, everyone knows there's too much at stake.

Beyond Durban, Avaaz has been doing a great job with its call for signatures under the heading which now reads: "24 hours to save our dying planet!" Addressed to the leaders of Brazil, China and Europe, the appeal has 650,000 signatures, up about 20,000 since I looked a short while ago.

And Occupy COP17 has plans to keep up the pressure to the bitter end, with no detail too small, as you can see from the poster.
Live Update

Image by Occupy COP17

3:50am GMT update from Bill Gunyon
It's not difficult to tell that's it's been a day of swirling political developments at the Durban climate talks. When things get confusing, media reports tend to pin themselves to one strand, such as the shaky performance of the US envoy, Todd Stern, or the rather more robust marshalling of resources by the Europeans.

Richard Black of the BBC probably gets as close as any to pulling all the strands together, including the alliance between the EU and the LDCs brokered by Denmark. The African Group also said it would side with Connie Hedegaard who has certainly made all the running. Like all of us, Black remains in the dark on the European position on dates (2012, 2015, 2020 etc).

Did anything else really change? I'm don't think so. The Canadians appeared to do a dramatic U-turn but I'm inclined to conclude that minister Peter Kent is a loose cannon. I"ve seen the clip of yesterday's interview and he's as unconvincing as last week's shenanigans over resigning from the Kyoto Protocol.

We're told that Todd Stern has softened his position on the EU roadmap. But my recollection of his first briefing on Tuesday was that he said quite clearly that he was open to discuss a process to take us forward.

Neither the Chinese nor the Indians said very much yesterday. The only thing I can find out about Jayanthi Natarajan is that she has delayed her flight home until Sunday, an ominous move for those of us with plans for Saturday which did not involve the word Kyoto.

India is the party which is most boxed in by its public statements. But there are those three longstanding concerns lurking in the background - equitable access to sustainable development; unilateral trade measures and intellectual property rights. I suspect that we're going to learn more about what these actually mean over the coming day (or two).
3:56am GMT update from Bill Gunyon
If you have any comments, please write to me at guides@oneworld.net
4:15am GMT update from Bill Gunyon
Setting the right tone for the final day of the Durban climate talks is this "open letter to delegates" published by Occupy COP17. The parsing is for "human microphone."

Can you hear me? /
Are you listening? /
These words / are not my own. / They are the voice / of the voiceless. / I speak to you, / not as a nation –/ but as the unheard majority of this planet – / the youth who are inheriting a system / we will not accept. / And I speak to you, / with the authority of every child / yet to be born. / The future belongs to them / not you.