I’m sending this from the first floor of the Hotel Maritim in Bonn, the temporary stage for the latest round of the global climate change negotiations that will build to a dizzying, crowded climax in Copenhagen at the end of the year, when the UN will try and agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocols.
What has been happening this week is five days of so-called “informal talks” but the extraordinary machinery of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is still on show. There are 2,500 people here, for a start, delegates from 192 countries and observer bodies: from Sweden’s team of 40, to a pair of diplomats from Malawi and a man in a black tie from the Holy See.
The sight of a full plenary session — as we had yesterday — is at once an affirming display of global democracy, and completely impenetrable, thick with protocol and stumbling repetitions. If it was something less than then the fate of the planet at stake, the relatively unknown bureaucrats milling around me, chiselling away at this year’s climate deal — it is currently 199 pages long — might be a curiosity for political scientists or anthropologists interested in the grand multilateral experiment that the UNFCCC represents.