HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsViewpoint: Are climate change talks necessary?

Viewpoint: Are climate change talks necessary?


The Bonn climate change talks last week looked like they were going nowhere. Some African countries reportedly walked out, the developed or rich countries laid down demands and the other countries refused to adhere to anything less than their demands.

Is this the way to go?

Africa and civil society organisations accused developed countries of not being serious about continuing with an international climate change regime.

At a briefing hosted by Friends of the Earth International, several analysts provided insights into the first week of negotiations.

The delay on agenda issues was very important in looking at the role of Cancun in climate negotiations.

It was agreed at the time that Cancun was one train-stop; not the end of the line.

But it appears some rich countries aren’t serious about negotiating climate change internationally and they’re using procedural tricks to get their way.
In Bangkok, it was an agenda prepared by an American that held up negotiations, in Bonn it is one prepared by an Australian – is that a coincidence?

Taxpayers in developed countries must be outraged that their bureaucrats are going to these climate change talks and playing tricks like this instead of negotiating in their national interest to stop climate change.

What is more significant is that Japan, Russia and Canada have announced they are not intending to fulfil their legal obligations for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

They have announced to the world that they are not serious about international climate change law and that their word does not count for much.

Will anyone believe an international commitment from Japan, Russia or Canada again in the future?

It baffles the mind why people don’t see through this whole fiasco.

Because there is no progress in these talk shops, some environmentalists are even joking about global warming asking: where did all the socialists and communists go when the Berlin Wall came down tumbling?

They believe they all became “environmentalists” of course. Who will blame them for that?

Or maybe it’s a hoax as evidenced by Climategate and the Russian exposure of data nit-picking.
Probably in the eyes of developed nations there is no such thing as “global warming”, and if there is, it’s very doubtful that humans have an impact on it, some have imagined.

Yet, this is a serious matter and legal options should be explored to hold these countries accountable.

In Copenhagen in 2009, developed countries promised to provide $30 billion to get a fast start on projects to protect communities in developing countries from climate change impacts and to start reducing climate pollution.

That money was meant to build trust and as a stop-gap until the institutions were ready to deliver the far greater sums necessary in the long-run, several hundreds of billions of dollars.

Developing countries have said once and again they are ready to sit at the negotiating table and discuss terms for a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol with high enough levels of ambition to achieve the common goal of limiting temperature rises that would otherwise seem inevitable.

These countries need an agreement on the basis of equity, protection of the environment and the opportunity for development for all.

In this case, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is not just a phrase.

It is unthinkable that developed countries are still insisting that the poorest of the poor should suffer the burden so they can maintain privileges and levels of consumption that are unsustainable.

Developing countries are doing their share, and more than their share, and this hard data unequivocally demonstrates this.

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