By: Christine Burns 14
While the we have been running around to side events and interviews, the delegates of the COP have been tackling some big issues. I am starting to get a sense that the general situation is that each country or block of countries is dealing with different issues from desertification, to sea-level rise, to economic downfall at home that they cannot see eye to eye on this rather broad issue of anthropogenic climate change. The parties are so divided, and come from such different backgrounds, that they have a hard time coming together.
Yesterday, I interviewed a delegate from the Malawi delegation. She was fantastic! She discussed this issue of the very divergent backgrounds and goals of the different delegations. She acknowledged that the EU is not in a good financial situation, yet they need to supply money for the green climate funds and the least developed countries. Her biggest focus though was not finance directly, although that was very important to her, but an extension of the Kyoto Protocol. She like the delegates from the other African nations I have interviewed thus far, believes that a continuation of the Kyoto Protocol is crucial to success in mitigating climate change. Legally binding agreements were at the heart of her argument. She wants to be able to hold countries accountable for their actions, and for good reason. Malawi is suffering the effects of climate change as are many of the African countries.
One other interesting point from her interview, that i noticed in a few of my other interviews was the idea of a sympathetic EU. While many countries like Canada have stated that they will not be agreeing to a second commitment to Kyoto, the EU has not said this. They are also one of the countries actually close to reaching their targets for the Kyoto Protocol. Because of this, and their many aid programs throughout Africa, many of the delegates that I have interviewed see the EU as a sympathetic party to their problems even if they don’t always agree. I thought this was a very interesting concept. She then went on to say that if a party did not want to commit to Kyoto that was fine, but they had no right to stand in the way of another commitment period for people who are serious about Kyoto. I find this to be an interesting point. On one hand I agree with her. If there is a group of countries willing to sign on to a second commitment period, then everyone should support them not hinder them. On the other hand, if that second commitment period does not include a significant percentage of emissions, then is it really worth it? While a small percentage of emitting countries agree to a second Kyoto, what will the rest of the world be doing? I am starting to feel that even if there is a second commitment period for Kyoto, there will need to be another agreement for parties not involved, because Kyoto won’t be able to address enough of the major emitters.