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Copenhagen outcome hangs in balance

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From Heather Coleman, senior policy advisor at Oxfam America.

We at Oxfam have joined the world in waiting for an agreed upon outcome to be announced today in Copenhagen. It’s possible that negotiators will need to stay through the weekend to hammer out the details based on what heads of state agree upon today.

Today’s meetings between heads of state are unprecedented. Few of us can remember a time when world leaders were called in to the negotiating table without a deal already having been struck. In fact, the Brazilian President Luiz Lula da Silva voiced his frustration in being called in to negotiating sessions that ended past 2:00 am last night and noted that it reminded him of his early years as a trade union negotiator. It’s not all that often that heads of state get pulled into such mayhem.

Much of the focus continues to be on the US and China as President Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao work through some of the remaining issues regarding emissions reduction commitments, the transparency of reporting, and finance.

The positive sign is that so many world leaders (more than 110) have come together in Copenhagen to tackle the issue of climate change. Regardless of the agreed upon outcome in Copenhagen, there’s global momentum at the highest levels to help propel us towards a fair, ambitious, and binding outcome. 

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