I wrote a Cheat Sheet to COP21. I thought I’d explain what inspired it. A recurring phrase in the negotiations is “nothing is decided until everything is decided”. The COP President even suggested that phrase yesterday [@18:30] as one of the three principles of the main plenary sessions (the other two are inclusiveness and transparency).
This inter-connectedness arises in part because every section of the draft text contains options that are favourable to some countries and unfavourable to others, and true compromise positions may unacceptable to everyone, suboptimal, or be just practically unworkable. Real progress can’t be made on issues in isolation – there have to be tradeoffs across different elements of the whole agreement (and potentially political tradeoffs regarding issues not even directly related to climate change).
Back on Thursday the EU talked about [@25:00] the need for a “helicopter view” in the negotiations to get a sense of how different issues inter-relate. At the half-way point in my journey of following the negotiations online, I tried to take a pause and get a helicopter view for myself – to identify the main areas of contention, and try to imagine what we would see in a final document that would suggest who has given ground and who has gained ground on any particular issue.