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译:Cancún’s climate colonels

来源: 时间:2010-12-9 10:08:00 点击:

Success in Mexico – and global security – depends on the ability of frontline negotiators to handle the tensions, write Nick Mabey and Shane Tomlinson.


The experience of managing complex peacekeeping missions has led the military to coin a valuable term: the “strategic colonels”. Strategic colonels can change the course of entire campaigns by the way they handle seemingly small local events. Such as resisting the desire to use deadly force against a hostile rock-throwing crowd when fired upon by armed insurgents mixed with the population. Or by preventing the abuse of detainees by angry soldiers after a comrade has been killed.

Those in command on the ground have the responsibility to prevent the emotion of the immediate moment overriding the strategic need to promote trust with the local people. As Iraq and Afghanistan have shown, making the wrong decision on the frontline can put back the success of a peacekeeping campaign for years.

A similar dynamic is now present in the international climate negotiations. Success now depends on the wisdom and restraint of frontline climate negotiators in dealing with the tensions at Cancún. The bruising experience world leaders suffered in Copenhagen last year means there will be no high-level political attention on the Cancún process. No leaders flying in to rescue negotiations and smooth over difficulties. No web of high-level phone calls to manage misunderstandings and allow flexibility.

Leaders in all countries are fully focused on economic recovery, trade and currency issues. Instead the strategic colonels of the climate world, the senior diplomats and environment ministers attending the talks, must now take responsibility for securing a lifeline for the global negotiations.

After a year in which alternative venues such as the G20 have shown they are not yet ready to deal with climate change, attention has refocused on the United Nations system as the only potential setting for global action. Current commitments are insufficient to put us on a pathway to deliver climate security, even if they are all delivered as promised under the Copenhagen Accord. A further global deal is still needed to increase ambition, but this will not happen in the next few years. Current negotiations must focus on consolidating the progress made in 2009 into binding and reliable legal commitments. But currently countries’ strategic negotiation “red lines” will not allow even this more modest ambition to be resolved at Cancún. Instead nations need to reach an interim agreement that builds trust and confidence and opens up the pathways to move forward.

Given the lack of public attention and political engagement, the task of agreeing such an interim step is harder than the politics of achieving a global deal at Copenhagen. But a lack of profile doesn’t mean the stakes are any lower at Cancún. Following the disappointment of Copenhagen, a second failure at Cancún could remove the UNFCCC as a viable solution in the eyes of political leaders for a decade – time we have not got if we are to stabilise the climate.

Failure would also undermine confidence in national action. Domestic investment in the low-carbon economy and transformational innovation is increasing. Billions of dollars of fast-start finance are starting to flow into developing countries. But confidence is fragile and without a clear signal of progress towards meaningful, long-term global action it could quickly collapse. The climate colonels must manage a tense situation to craft a substantive outcome and rebuild momentum.

This is neither easy nor certain. The political climate is full of tension, whether from strong gains by climate “sceptic” Republicans in the United States, or disputes over international currency issues and increasing world food prices. In the absence of clear political leadership, negotiators have an incentive to be risk averse. Angry and confrontational exchanges could quickly spiral out of control leading to regression and recrimination. Megaphone diplomacy, especially between the United States and China, needs to be toned down or risk blowing up any chance of progress.

Thankfully, the Mexican presidency hosting the Cancún meeting has put some of its best people on the job. These senior diplomats, with a track record inside the UN on equally divisive issues such as human rights, have a clear plan for rebooting the negotiations. This includes launching a stepwise process to secure a legally binding outcome covering all countries over the next two years, establishing a new climate fund and taking action on deforestation and technology transfer. A deal covering all of these areas would generate real momentum and show that the UNFCCC has moved off the life support mechanism it has survived on this year.

The real question is: can the countries themselves show the maturity needed to make this happen? The inability to shift red lines means all sides will have to take tactical risks to open up a pathway forward. The interim deal cannot resolve all the issues, so countries will have to be comfortable with coming back to resolve key areas over the next few years. In particular, constructive partnerships that reach across the divide between developed and developing countries are needed. Cancún will be the first opportunity for new processes such as the Cartagena Dialogue, which includes countries like the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia, along with Colombia, Chile and Costa Rica, to show they can really build trust between the parties.

There is a real danger that countries may think they can put the blame for failure on others and hide behind well-trodden positions. This risks the talks drifting into a living death similar to the global trade negotiations. There the pace of progress is measured in decades not years. The climate simply cannot wait that long for a solution. Equally if these climate strategic colonels spend their time at Cancún trying to secure rhetorical points against each other, this will put the final nail in the coffin of the UNFCCC.

Climate change has built up a huge global community of civil society and business groups. Cancún is the time for those invested in working to secure a global deal to stand up and be counted. This will be as much about toning down the rhetoric and preventing tensions boiling over as pushing for more ambition.

We need the United States, China, Bolivia and Venezuela to say less, and for Europe, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa to say more. It is time for the climate colonels to take responsibility – to show they have the maturity to guide the UNFCCC process forward and build confidence so that it can deliver climate security for everyone.

(译文如有出入请联系本会,来源于chinadialogue)

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坎昆会议:气候“战略上校”备受瞩目

人类是否能在坎昆会议及全球安全等议题上取得成功,取决于在“前线”参与气候会谈的谈判代表在处理紧张局势时所展现出来的智慧和克制,尼克•玛贝与谢恩•汤姆林森报道。


复杂的维和行动中所获得的运作经验在军事领域缔造出一个非常有价值的职位:“战略上校”。

战略上校可以通过掌控一些看似不起眼的本地事件来改变整体作战过程。比如,当遭到混杂在平民之中的武装叛乱分子的枪袭时,要克制住用致命武力对付那些冲他们愤怒地投掷石块的人群的冲动。或者在战友牺牲之后,不要让愤怒的士兵虐待囚犯。那些领命驻守战地的人肩负着与当地群众加深信任的战略使命,因此要防止因一时一地的情绪而影响战略需要的情况发生。正像在伊拉克和阿富汗所发生的那样,前线采取的错误决断会阻碍维和行动取得胜利,其影响会延绵数年。

国际气候谈判目前也面临着相似的动力问题。谈判的成功如今要仰仗前方参与气候会谈的谈判代表在处理坎昆会议上的紧张局势时所展现出来的智慧和克制。去年在哥本哈根会谈上,世界领导人所遭受的惨痛经历意味着坎昆谈判进程不会引起高度的政治关注。没有一位领导人前往拯救会谈、化解困难。高层间也没有任何电话往来就如何消除误解、增加谈判的灵活性等问题进行协商。所有国家的领导人都将全部精力集中在经济复苏、贸易、货币等问题上。相反,作为气候变化领域的战略上校,那些参与会谈的高级外交官和环境部长们如今就肩负起确保全球会谈顺利进行的使命。

G20等其他组织在过去一年中的表现都表明,他们并未做好应对气候变化的准备。因此,作为唯一一个有可能推动全球行动的组织,联合国体系又重新成为人们关注的焦点。即便那些在《哥本哈根协议》中许下的诺言全部兑现,目前所做的承诺依然不足以让我们踏上一条通往气候安全的道路。我们需要进一步达成全球协议,确立更高的目标。然而,在未来的几年里,这却是一个无法实现的愿望。目前的会谈必须着力于巩固2009年所取得的进展,使其成为具有切实约束力的法律承诺。但是,目前各国战略协商的“红线”导致连这个较为温和的目标都无法在坎昆会议上得到解决。取而代之的是,各国需要达成一份临时协议,建立信任和信心,开启向前发展的道路。

鉴于这种缺乏公众关注和政治参与的状况,达成这一过渡措施的任务要比在哥本哈根会议上达成一项全球协议所动用的政治策略困难得多。然而,前景不明并不意味着坎昆会议的风险会更小。在哥本哈根会议令人大失所望之后,如果坎昆会议再次失败,那么在未来的十多年里,UNFCCC将不再会被政治领导人当做可行的解决方案。但是,如果我们想要稳定气候,那么这段时间是我们无法等待的。不仅如此,坎昆会谈的失败还将瓦解人们对于采取国家行动的信心。国内在低碳经济及转移型创新领域的投资正在增长。数十亿美元的快速启动融资正开始流入发展中国家。然而,信心是非常脆弱的。如果从长远而言缺乏一个推进全球行动的有意义的信号,那么信心的崩溃也只是顷刻之间而已。气候上校们必须能够应对紧张的局势,从而获得一个实质性的结果,重塑人们前进的动力。

当然,这并非易事,也不一定能够实现。因为,不论是持气候怀疑态度的共和党人在美国政坛的大胜,还是国际货币问题及不断上涨的世界粮食价格所导致的争端,都让政治气候充满了紧张的气氛。如果没有明确的政治领导,谈判代表们就会趋利避害。愤怒的情绪和互不相让的态度很快就会失去控制,导致倒退和互相指责。隔空喊话的外交政策,尤其是在美中两国之间的这种外交政策,需要将声量放低,否则任何取得进展的机会都会被吹的无影无踪。

庆幸的是,主持坎昆会议的墨西哥总统派出了他们最优秀的人才来担任这项工作。这些高级外交官们都有着在联合国处理诸如人权等同样纷繁复杂的问题的经历,因此他们对于重启会谈有着明确的计划,其中就包括启动一个渐进程序来确保在未来的两年里达成一个包括所有国家的具有法律约束力的成果,建立一个新的气候基金,并针对森林砍伐和技术转让采取措施。一个涵盖所有这些方面的协议将会产生切实的推动力量,并且能够表明UNFCCC已经从这一年中帮助其维持生命的机制中摆脱出来。

然而,真正的问题是各国自身是否足够成熟使其得以实现?无法改变红线就意味着要打开一条前进之路,各方就不得不承担一些战术上的风险。临时协议不能解决所有问题。所以,各国将不得不接受在未来几年里再回过头来解决关键领域的问题的现实。尤其是需要建立一个能够化解发达国家和发展中国家之间分歧的建设性合作伙伴关系。对于像卡塔赫纳对话这样,既包括英国、德国、澳大利亚等国,又包括哥伦比亚、智利、以及哥斯达黎加的新进程而言,坎昆会谈第一次为他们提供了一个展现他们能够在两个阵营之间建立信任的机会。

各国也许会认为,他们可以将失败的责任推卸到其他国家身上,自己则躲在背后避免遭受攻击。其实这么做是非常危险的。这样会使会谈有可能陷入与全球贸易谈判一样的两难境地。贸易谈判的进展速度是以十年而不是以年为单位衡量的。而气候问题的解决不能像那样等下去。同样,如果这些气候战略上校们来到坎昆不过是想确定针对对方的论点而已的话,那么对于UNFCCC而言,这无异于盖棺定论。

在气候变化问题的驱动下已经构建了一个由民间团体和商业组织组成的庞大的全球共同体。对于那些投身于确保达成一项全球协议工作的人而言,坎昆会谈正是他们站出来承担使命的时候。这不仅是争取更高目标的问题,同样也是大家放低声量,防止紧张局势爆发的问题。我们需要美国、中国、玻利维亚、委内瑞拉少说话,而要让欧洲、巴西、印度尼西亚、南非等国多说话。如今,到了气候上校们肩负起使命,展示出他们足够地成熟,能够引导UNFCCC进程向前推进,能够建立信心,从而使其可以保障每个国家的气候安全。

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