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Dickinson to Durban » Climate Change, Key COP17 Issues, Mosaic Action, Student Research » A Continuation of Kyoto: Is It Worth It?

A Continuation of Kyoto: Is It Worth It?

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.

Beautiful Sunset over Lake Malawi

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.


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4 Responses to "A Continuation of Kyoto: Is It Worth It?"

  1. Dani says:

    I agree Christine!! I feel so bad that I don’t necessarily “heart KP” like so many of the youth here. I see why wee need something like the KP, but honestly, the first one didn’t succeed 100% so why should we continue it? There must be a better way!!

  2. Esther Babson says:

    I’ve been hearing alot of support for Kyoto II in my interviews as well and I also am unsure where I stand on Kyoto. The idea of starting all over again after it took so long to (somewhat) agree on Kyoto makes me nervous, but at the same time I agree that it really didn’t work so other options probably need to start being considered.

  3. kyle long says:

    Do you know Canada’s reasons for not wanting to agree to a 2nd protocol?

  4. Christine Burns says:

    I am also unsure of where I personally stand on KP. I think that it was an important first step, and I think that it had its successes and failures. I have heard a lot of support from the countries I have interviewed for KP II, but I am just not sure it is worth it. As daunting as it is to start all over again, how can an agreement really be effective without the top emitters.
    Kyle- Currently Canada is getting taking the blunt of the critism here at the COP, but they are not the only country not willing to go for round two. The reasons vary, but they include a lack of success within their own countries the first round, the lack of US presence, the need for better inclusion of developing countries, and the financial situation.

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