Articles Comments

Dickinson to Durban » Climate Change, Key COP17 Issues » Getting Desperate in Durban

Getting Desperate in Durban

By Dani Thompson

Yesterday, the doors of most UNFCCC plenary sessions became closed for civilians and observers. The negotiations are taking a more serious turn, and the U.S. is taking a verbal beating by the folks of the Climate Action Network (CAN). At the CAN daily briefing on Monday, we heard over and over again that many nations are fed up with the U.S. and their constant blocking of  international agreements for a potential second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. It seems the time has come for the countries ready and willing to agree to a legally binding agreement  to move forward on their own.

“If [the US] cannot get your team on the ground, move aside and let the rest of the world move forward with an agreement.” These and other strong words came from Kumi Naidoo (second from left), a representative from Greenpeace International, who was in favor of leaving the U.S. behind for the rest of the conference negotiations. He said that current agreements on the table are what he likes to call FLAB; or Full of Loopholes And B***S***.

Jim Leape (second from right), a U.S. rep from the WWF said that his country has a “failure of ambition…which will lead us into a 4 degree warming world.” He continued, saying, “…the current solutions and mitigation actions on the table will not save us from catastrophic outcomes.” Mr. Leap also pointed out the hypocrisy of the U.S. position; ignoring a problem which is and will continue to affect its own people. He emphasized his point, explaining that 47 of the 50 United States had declared a state of emergency for a climate related disaster within the last year. He said 14 of these disasters cost over one billion dollars in damages.

A third panelist, Sharan Burrow (far right), an Australian from the International trade unions, echoed the desperation of our situation in the negotiations. “We don’t want to wait until 2020 for an agreement, we don’t want to wait another 12 months, we want one THIS WEEK! We want the U.S. to be a part of this agreement…but they need to stop blocking.”

These examples are a few of many sentiments regarding the U.S. position (or lack there of) in the negotiations. To learn more about this topic, what is causing the U.S. and other countries to stall progress of the COP negotiations (and also so that what I am writing will not be redundant for those of you so diligently following this blog), check out the following posts completed by my fellow Dickinsonians here in Durban:

U.S. Step Aside, Developing Countries Step Up by Maggie Reese

The Kyoto Roadblock Explained by Tim Damon

Is it Dead? by Christine Burns

Can a Second Commitment Period to the Kyoto Protocol be Agreed in Durban? by Neil Leary

Written by

I think GIS is ok.

Filed under: Climate Change, Key COP17 Issues · Tags: , , , , ,

3 Responses to "Getting Desperate in Durban"

  1. Tom Arnold says:

    Good morning from Carlisle everyone.

    Thanks for your blogs – it’s been very interesting to hear about the meetings.

    I’m curious to know if ocean acidification is mentioned in the meetings and, if so, what sort of attention it’s getting. We have 18 Dickinson students set to study ocean acidification in Australia in the spring and we’re wondering what sort discussions might be going on.

    Prof. Arnold

    1. learyn says:

      We had breakfast this morning with Dr. Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He commented that the science that underpins the negotiations has been largely absent from the discussions at COP17. That said, Jeff Niemitz did attend a session today about oceans and acidification. Perhaps he can relay details of what he heard. Neil Leary

    2. Jeff Niemitz says:

      Hi Tom – Ocean Acidification has not been mentioned at all except in passing. In fact the oceans are conspicuously absent in the discussions to date. There have been some attempts to educate the delegates on the the ocean systems particularly with regard to the role of the oceans in the carbon cycle but most of it has been about sources and sink of CO2 in the oceans rather than the effects of CO2 on the ocean and its biome. There will be a specific ocean acidification session tonight and I will let you know what happens. The impact of the session will be minimal as the delegates are in serious and continuous negotiations in order to get some substantial result at the 11th hour. When we met with the IPCC chair for breakfast yesterday, it was clear that he was feeling a bit left out on the science end of things. He noted that the science more than ever informs the negotiations and yet it has not been as prominent as it was the last few years. The reason may lie in the fact that the next IPCC report is not due until 2014 so the last report has been digested thoroughly and incorporated into the negotiation process.
      At the beginning of the conference the IPCC chair announced the most recent interim report from the IPCC on extreme weather events. This was a significant scientific piece of work or basically said that extreme events of rain, flood, drought and heat will continue to increase with specific areas seeing the brunt of it. Some of this specific areas are in the US (more tornadoes, flood in the Eastern US; more drought and heat waves in the SW). There is a tension of urgency in the air particularly from the African bloc, the island nations, and Bangladesh. However they all do not have much clout in how the Kyoto recommitment goes.

Leave a Reply