A couple of things are pretty certain at the point. There WILL be some type of political agreement at Copenhagen. The arrival of (at latest count) no less than 130 heads of state makes this the biggest political gathering in history and it is likely the beginnings of a treaty will be in place soon.
But one thing is very clear – this will be not be a binding deal. It will only be the very beginning, a very rough skeleton if you will, for a legally binding document similar to Kyoto that will be inked sometime in 2010.
At a small private gathering hosted by the Alliance for Climate Protection, Al Gore stressed the importance of eliminating any “vagueness” around the timeline for this document.
Right now there is talk of another UN gathering in December 2010, but Gore is concerned that this will mean another lost year in a planet that is heating as quickly as ours, a year maybe make or break.
He is also worried that a vague deadline on the UN legal document will remove pressure on the U.S. to deliver its own climate & energy bill in the Senate, which is a true linchpin in the success of a global climate accord.
So Gore is putting his full weight behind an accelerated plan to take advantage of the momentum generated at Copenhagen. It calls for an April 20th deadline, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, for the Senate to pass its bill, which gives several months to integrate the official U.S. targets into the new UN document.
Also he thinks having a summer accord in Mexico City, one of the regions hard hit by heat waves and drought, will be a good reminder of the type of challenges we will face in a warming world.
Gore said he has met with several top ministers and hopes to gain consensus on his post-Copenhagen timeline.