Big Picture Climate Change Emissions Impossible Social Change

Seven Weeks to Copenhagen

Although December 2009 is more than six months away, in reality the World has seven weeks of further negotiations before the main details of a Global Climate Treaty must be agreed for delivery at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP) in December 2009 in Copenhagen Denmark.

This was the news from Yvo de Boer, the United Nations Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, speaking at the conference “Thinking Outside the Box : Borderless Strategies to Combat Climate Change”.

Today in a large hall with mindblowingly orange seats at the International Maritime Organisation on the South side of the River Thames in London, overlooking the Houses of Parliament, Yvo told the United Nations Association conference about the four things he needs to get clarity on from the COP15 participants.

Before I continue, you have to know that the World is divided into two groups of nations : the Developing and the Developed. In the Developed countries we include industrialised Europe, the United States of America, Canada and so on. In the set of Developing countries we include China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa.

1. From the Developed Nations, Yvo needs to hear individual country emissions reduction targets. The European Union of course has made a commitment to 20% reductions, or 30% if others make a commitment too. He is getting approaches from many countries on this issue.

2. Clarity on what the major Developing countries are doing to get emissions reductions, as we need China and the Developing countries on board.

3. Political frame : an essential need to mobilise new and additional financial resources for Developing countries’ Adaptation to (and Mitigation of) Climate Change.

This to go beyond the parameters of what is economically viable to Developing countries currently.

Developing countries are already working on limiting their own emissions. How can we get a greater degree of action ? [Answer : it will need to be financed, somehow.]

4. Governance – of these financial resources to be generated. To give the developing countries control of the finance available to them. Not closing the World Bank but creating a [new] institution.

He is on the way to getting numbers on the table from a number of players regarding commitment to targets on emissions reductions. He is also getting commitments from Developing countries.

Climate Change has become an ecological and economic imperative for Developing countries, too. If you look at the the economic recovery packages, for example, Korea, it has a large green component – you can’t handle the need to cope with urbanisation of peoples on the current economic model.

As for finance – we are not so far down the road. There have been suggestions for a “self-financing” regime, for example auctioning emissions rights.

In terms of governance we need to modify the Carbon Investment Facility – to be a much more democratic structure.

It’s still going to be a “heavy hit” politically. These issues are at the heart of social and economic debate – and it is a most difficult time to raise them.

Plus, Yvo said we need a show of public opinion to get political opinion.

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