Painfully cold weather or the uplifting experience of watching snow fall?  Take your pick of description for a minus 4 degrees  day and you could associate either choice with observing these negotiations. Without doubt the progress is painfully slow  –  but there is progress.

Yesterday’s positioning by Africa on finance has become a possible deal as many nations including the US have now committed to both fast track or immediate funding from 2010 to 2013 and a $US100 billion by 2020.

Likewise the capital raising by five nations – the  UK, the US, Australia, Japan and Norway to the tune of $US3.5 billion for forest protection gave Indonesia the confidence to call for transparency and verification of climate action pledged by individual countries.

Our own Prime Minister set the scene this morning with the call for a grand bargain and laid out a commitment to a two – track solution towards a binding legal agreement. This would ensure an extension of the Kyoto Protocol and the completion of a global agreement in 2010.

While there is some way to go to finalise agreement on financing, transparency and the shape of a legally binding outcome there is real movement. Friday, the last day must now be the day of increased ambitions.

Nations must lift their commitments and for wealthy nations this means the targets for carbon emission reductions. Here the European Union and the President of Brazil, Lula De Silva have set the scene.
EU leaders are determined to maintain their commitment to a target of 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 and have challenged other developed nations including Australia and the US to stretch their commitments.

The president of Brazil went beyond the expected commitment of  30%  reduction on business as usual scenario to 36% and inclusive of industry as well as forestry. These commitments are respectively a call for high ambition and provide a backdrop for the major debate of target commitments set for tomorrow  (Friday).
Painful, slow – mix with tension and delay and the ingredients for despair are here but so too is the potential for an historic agreement and the hope of renewal.

For those who can turn out today, Friday Melbourne time at 1pm to Federation Square the message of hope and expectation that you send to Kevin Rudd and the other leaders of the world will be heard and those of us representing civil society thank you.
Hope, political will and the fact that time is running out may just prove the mix that will ensure history is made and the climate reset for survival.

More from Sharan Burrow’s Diary from Copenhagen