…tick-tick, tick-tick…(trying to do the ’24’ sound effect but I don’t think its coming across that well)
So, here we are in Cancun, Mexico, for this year’s international climate talks. It’s hard to believe that only a year ago we were in Copenhagen for COP15. Dubbed ‘Hopenhagen’ by some, people were confident that last year’s talks would be successful, and the outcome would be F.A.B (Fair, ambitious and binding). Hundreds of world leaders were in attendance, leading us to believe that some good would come from this.
What actually resulted was two weeks of seemingly dead air, a last minute shuffle into a meeting room, a weak, non-binding climate change agreement, and a lot of angry environmentalists. Developing countries’ hopes were dashed after such a huge build up. The consensus, though, was that it was better than nothing, and that some progress is better than none. But nowhere near good enough for the world’s poorest countries.
This year also saw ‘Climategate’, which Superbadger blogged about back in March. Climate sceptics claimed that the e-mails of Professor Phil Jones from the University of East Anglia provided proof that scientists at the university’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) were manipulating and hiding data to strengthen scientific evidence of man-made global warming. Even though the scandal was proved to be unfounded, public scepticism continued to rise.
The United States, a key player for progress, was also a big talking point this year. The disappointing outcome of the US elections in November effectively ruled out the possibility of getting any climate bill through the Senate – which will make international negotiations difficult.
This year, finance is high on the agenda. Many countries are keen to commit to a fund, which would help counter and also deal with the effects of climate change. However, there are many sticking points – there are differences of opinion about which body should control this fund, how much countries will contribute, and where this money will come from. The likely outcome of this year is that some progress will be made, but Cancun will only serve as a ‘stepping stone’ to more progress during COP17 in South Africa 2011.
The effects of climate change in southern Nepal in 2008 (Credit: Tearfund)
A fair, ambitious and binding deal is now more important than ever. Climate change is hitting the world’s poorest people now, and changing people’s lives for the worst. The poorest have done the least to contribute to global warming, but are the first to feel its effects. Superbadger and Tearfund are pushing for real, tangible progress in these talks.
So, this year, developed countries need to step up to the plate and commit to a fair deal for everyone. In the word’s of the running joke here at these talks every year, ‘lets hope its not a cop out’.
Hasta luego, mis amigos! We’ll keep you posted.