Climate change now critical for agriculture, food and much else
Compromise, optimism and middle ground are the critical words and the way to the next phase of the agenda.
Climate change convention, simply called Cancum, the Mexican city, has produced something positive? We must hope so for such a high profile UN meet (UNFCCC) won’t go without some positive mindset, if not more immediate action.
The problem is the attitude of the top industrial power.USA is not part of the Kyoto Protocol. So too other major blocks such as the EU which are committed to a second commitment to Kyoto Protocol.
But one thing becomes very evident. There is a great deal of concern in the world now than before. Climate change is real. The dangers of low-lying countries like the small country Maldives is only one such instance.
There are very many others. Where, people, climate, environment and the very ecology and much else are now becoming critical for the world. For the livelihood of the poor, for food and for promoting sustained agriculture and other lifestyle practices.
The Cancun summit, if it can be so called, saw some high decibel voices, all articulated to capture the mood of the world, specially, the mood of the smaller countries, the Alliance of Small Island States(AOSIS), a group of 43 members, the 14 Pacific Island Developing States, who are all concerned both the short and the long term issues.
The Kyoto Protocol ends in December 2012 and it, the second phase of KP must begin on January 1, 2013, say these small island countries that face the prospect of sea rise and the very threatening of their existence.
The UN Environment Programme GAP Report which was released at the summit clearly stated that the current emission pledges were far from adequate to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees as advocated by more than 106 countries. The 14 Pacific Island States threatened with extinction if sea levels rise and they said there was little room for compromise and called for a fair solution. Cancum should take the world one step closer to a two-track legally -binding outcome in Durban next year. The Group of 77 and China too felt the time had come to secure an outcome that fulfilled the mandate stipulated in Bali. The Group also called for second commitment period under the KP.
It is clear from the Cancum event that the rich countries, notably, the USA must come under the KP commitment. Without bringing in the USA and China not coming forward to commit to KP and Japan and may be only after the three key states, India and the Bric countries seem to matter in the scheme of things, so to say.
There was optimism and room for compromise in the deliberations and everyone of any importance spoke with lots of circumspection, given the very nature of the issues.
The point is that there was a full-scale debate, the just released AWikileaks report was very much upon the minds of the countries, whose names were mentioned and everyone sought to blame the leaks and there were evidence that some countries protested, Bolivia refuted the report that revealed the pressure brought by the USA on smaller countries in Copenhagen. Connie Hedegaard, EU commissioner for climate action who was mentioned in the Wiki leaks, she said when asked by some media persons that it was a one-sided report and the fact is that EU is committed to fund the programmes in countries like Maldives. The US Special Envoy on Climate Change Todd Stern took a moral high ground, another name for escape responsibility and to commit for funds or for reduction in emissions and he took the example of a Norwegian Minister who was accused to bribery in Copenhagen. Where was the Cancum climate talks headed?
Mr.Stern said that there would be an agreement, but would the talks be getting to it?
A very tricky way of avoiding any direct commitment to the issues that were burning in the hearts of the participants.
President of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC, Patricia Espinosa announced an initiative to take the conference forward by bringing the Ministers from developed and developing countries so that they could work on specific issues.
Civil Society movements were very active at the Cancun venue and their protests ranged from globalising the issues to saving the forests to the lifestyles of the indigenous people and landless workers etc. There were 3000 to 5,000 workers and protestors and they were organised around the central theme of Market-led solutions is not sustainable solution at all.
So, their slogan was no to market led climate change policies.
No to capitalism of forests.
No to REDD plus, Reeducation Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD plus) a proposal that wants it should help people to manage forests among themselves.
These types of protests are now the norm in almost every international conference and they cannot be dismissed out of hands.
They will be there and they are necessary to express the emotions and strong feelings for politicians who often do things just to make a point and forget about the practical implications soon.
The very same things happened last in Copenhagen.
The Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila A.Odinga expressed his views at the conference and he made some sharp observations. The fast-start finance, funding of 30 billion pledged and the commitment of 100 billion annually by 2020, the Copenhagen accord pledged was not forthcoming and only 20 per cent of fast-funding was delivered, said the Kenyan Prime Minister.
He called for a clear reaffirmation of the 30 billion fast-start finance to be made available by 2010 and at least one-half he called for adaption, technology etc.
In conclusion, we have to note the experts who make things easier for the common man for what is involved here and what simple, easy to understand by everyone, needs to be implemented.
One is energy efficiency. This has been demonstrated in countries far off, like Ethiopia (where florescent light bulbs had led to reducing 100 million dollars for leasing and fuel diesel power plants, by spending just 5 million dollars! More wind and solar energy could become more cost-competitive. Protected forests do protect the precious resources and hell reduces poverty, as proved in Costa Rica and Thailand.
So, we have hope! More energy efficiency policies, more conservation and protection of forests, of course wise financing options to countries and use of technology. Mankind had always faced challenges and had risen up to meet such challenges. Let us hope this time, with the threat of climate change facing us squarely at our face, the countries, big and not so big would see the wisdom of international co-operation.
Image Source : mexicoguru.com