The 17th UNÂ negotiationsÂ to try and limit the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissionsÂ and potentially catastrophic climate change began on 28th November, in Durban South Africa. Since the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)Â entered into force in 1995, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC have been meeting annually to assess progress in dealing with climate change.
With the slogan â€œWorking Together; Saving Tomorrow Todayâ€, it seems as though there is plenty of optimism and a will to achieve. However, recent COP meetings, in Copenhagen and Cancun, were felt by some to have failed to deliver lasting commitments from countries to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions.
Hereâ€™s an update from the UKYCC delegation in Durban on Monday 5 December:
â€œItâ€™s the first day of the second week and the pressureâ€™s started to build. This is the make or break week for the negotiations and Iâ€™ll beÂ honest â€“ Iâ€™m afraid itâ€™s going to be break time. There are some really important issues on the table â€“ the one a lot of people are talking
about is the Kyoto Protocol. Itâ€™s the only legally binding treaty we have to reduce carbon emissions but it runs out in 2012. If we want to have emissions reduction targets (which we do), then we need action now. Â The KP (as itâ€™s called) only applies to developed countries. The US never signed up to it (they just donâ€™t like playing fair orÂ acknowledging that theyâ€™re part of the world) and now Canada is actively trying to kill it so it can sell highly polluting tar sand oil to every other country in the world for maximum profits. Japan and Russia are being lame too.
Itâ€™s not often Iâ€™m proud to be British but the EU, and the UKÂ within it, are doing their best to keep it alive â€“ Iâ€™m 100% of the way behind them. Say it loud and say it proud: â€˜I heart KP!
Other important issues are having a broader mandate for a universal treaty that will cover both developed and developing countries come out of Durban. That, and money. Always with the money! But the UNFCCC want to create a Green Climate Fund to manage the money that will support mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The big question is, whoâ€™s going to take care of the money and whereâ€™s it going to come from?
For a more in-depth insight, check out the second UKYCC hand puppet video. If talking hands canâ€™t explain whatâ€™s going on, nothing can!â€
Websites to keep up to date with progress of the talks:
- http://adoptanegotiator.org/ â€“ A blogging platform which tracks the progress of the negotiations day by day
- un.ukycc.orgÂ – the website of the UK Youth Climate Coalition, who have a delegation at the conference
- http://www.cop17-cmp7durban.com/index.html â€“ the main website of the conference; useful for full background information.