Summary of the Current status/situation
Some Government leaders are here and many ministers have now arrived for the start of what’s called ‘The High Level Segment’ tonight. Appropriately this will begin with statements from the Prime Ministers of Ethiopia, Nauru, Senegal, Samoa and the Central African Republic. We don’t know what they will say but just the presence of these African leaders speaks a thousand words. It has been said many times this week that Africa and small island states are the ‘canaries in the coal mine’ of climate change. There is already much suffering on this continent with increased extreme weather causing droughts, floods, food and water shortages. Yet as we all know climate change will have devastating effects all over the world which makes the trajectory of these negotiations defies logic – economic, environmental or social. Ministers now take over and we need them to ignore corporate polluter lobbyists and deniers and to lead and take bold decisions to protect the climate.
The US continues to be the biggest fly in the ointment in Durban on every front but China and India curiously did not support an option for a legal form decision that would have seen negotiations for a global treaty result in a legal agreement. There is no question that any agreement needs to reflect the critical issues of equity that India has brought forward; any deal has to reflect their rights to lift people out of poverty. However, delays will ensure that equity will never be addressed as blocking discussions only damns the poorest and most vulnerable to the ravages of the climate change.
Yesterday AOSIS made the sensible suggestion that developed countries acknowledge the ‘gigatonne gap’ between current pledges and what we need, set about setting up a work programme to address the gap and hold a high level ministerial in 2012 to discuss solutions. As many have pointed out there are concrete solutions to this gap, many identified in a recent UNEP report, that we can address today – outside of this process. It is hard to imagine how countries can object to this proposal. We need to throw everything we have avoiding two degrees warming, let alone the survival limit for some low-lying countries of 1.5 degrees.
What is happening?
The latest analysis from the Climate Action Tracker on the costs of waiting until 2020 for stronger targets shows that delaying decisions on future climate action until 2015 or 2020 will bring rapidly increasing costs and threatens our ability to keep global warming to below 2 degrees C. We are heading toward a global emissions pathway that will take warming to 3.5degC, and far from a cost-optimal pathway to keep warming below 2degC.
Members of the Canadian Youth Delegation and the Indigenous Environmental Network held a welcome party to formally receive Environment Minister Peter Kent and his tar sands pushers to the UN climate negotiations. As conference delegates entered the negotiations this morning, the welcoming committee handed out samples of tar sands on behalf of Kent, along with tourism brochures for Canada’s scenic tar sands. Photos freely available at: http://bit.ly/v1A3vR
Message for the day
As the 2nd and last week of the UN climate negotiations got underway yesterday there is grave concern among the world’s scientific, non-governmental, labour, faith groups and many countries that the end result of COP 17 will be that we have locked humanity into a 3-4 degree world – 2 degrees is the maximum that the world’s scientists have estimated is the threshold for runaway and dangerous climate change.
The longer we wait for action to reduce emissions the less options we will have, the more it will cost, the less likely we are to be able to stay below global warming of 2 degrees C and the bigger threat to the world’s most vulnerable. To avoid expensive and disruptive rates of emissions reductions in coming decades countries must Increase their ambition now.
What you can do today?
Today there is a special Toxic Tour of South Durban followed by Rights of Nature action! Bus leaves at 1 PM – ENGEN PROTEST 4-6 pm
Are our negotiators parts of the problem or part of the solution? Do our governments represent the real interests of the people? Are the shadowy global interests that manipulate our politics and our lives invincible?
A multi-stakeholder coalition in cooperation with the UNFCCC secretariat launched the award “Transformative Step of the Day” as a way to increase focus on transformative low-carbon solutions during the negotiations.
Christian Aid called on Europe to step up and commit to tackling climate change.
About the authorPaul Horsman
Having campaigned for over 26 years on peace and environmental issues in different parts of the world for Greenpeace, Paul now works as the global campaign director for the Global Campaign for Climate Action.