Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Progress in Durban, but not enough

IRIN: The UN talks in Durban, South Africa, got adaptation and the response to climate change “approximately right”, which is better than “being precisely wrong”, a tired Naderev Sano, Philippines’ chief climate change negotiator, said as he emerged from two consecutive emotionally charged all-night sessions.

...Some progress was made in Durban in this regard, such as setting up an advisory body on adaptation, the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund, and initiating a dialogue to address loss and damage as the impact of climate change unfolds. But the “devil is in the detail”, as many poor countries found out, and the negotiating tracks dealing with adaptation have been “watered down”. Many voiced their concerns in the open debates in Durban.

Most of the thorny issues were tied to money and the inability of rich countries to commit in view of the economic crisis in their backyard. “We sensed a lot of resistance on that front, and we understand,” said a leading climate change negotiator from an African country.

“There seemed to be a lack of urgency,” said Sano. “But multilateral processes always involve baby steps.”

...Two decisions to cut emissions were taken in Durban: the extension of the Kyoto Protocol - the only global deal to cut emissions from 2013 onwards - and the new deal to reduce emissions after the Protocol expires in 2017. (Shortly after the talks Canada, one of the largest emitters, angered environmentalists by announcing its imminent withdrawal from the Kyoto treaty). But neither reflects the urgency needed to make deeper cuts sooner.

“This makes steps to support adaptation even more urgent for poor countries like us. It seems like the world realizes we are headed towards a catastrophe, but they don’t seem to understand,” pointed out Qazi Ahmad, one of the lead negotiators for Bangladesh....

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