COP17—Durban Climate Conference — Global Issues


Creator and Web page info

  • by Anup Shah
  • This web page Created

On this web page:

  1. Introduction
  2. Media protection
  3. Regardless of media’s lack of curiosity, emissions proceed to rise
  4. Widespread however Differentiated Accountability Precept Sidelined Once more
  5. Durban assembly final result
  6. Extra info
    1. Information tales from IPS


November 28 – December 9, 2011, Durban, South Africa was the venue for the seventeenth annual United Nations Local weather Change Convention, also referred to as the seventeenth Convention of the Events — or COP 17.

Predictably and sadly, the identical points complained about at earlier annual conferences for the previous decade proceed to recycle themselves:

  • Lack of high quality (if any) media protection
  • West stalling on doing something making an attempt guilty India and China as an alternative
  • Lack of funding
  • Disagreement on the right way to deal with it
  • and so on.

Because the previous 20 years have proven making an attempt to get international settlement on tackling local weather change appears to be futile. By comparability, extra centered and restricted curiosity of elites, nevertheless, are simpler to push by, equivalent to wars primarily based on geopolitical threats (actual and imaginary), or financial crises (the place banks and different elites most chargeable for the crises are bailed out by extraordinary residents).

Moreover, because the West has typically proven previously decade or extra (even when their economies have been doing good) paying now for one thing that appears to be an issue sooner or later is tough to just accept. It’s simpler, due to this fact, to stall and preserve blaming China, India and different rising nations regardless of the historic inequality of these emissions. However ignoring that makes it simpler to hope these rising nations will choose up the burden of addressing emissions rises.

Again to high

Usually talking, media protection of local weather change points and these conferences has been a combined bag over the previous decade. Newer years has seen elevated curiosity and protection (although many vital points are glossed over in mainstream media sound-byte model reporting).

Nonetheless, by comparability, this yr’s mainstream media protection of this important convention was near pathetic, to place it politely. In actuality cash speaks and so quick time period and elite/institution views are inclined to prevail, which is why governments can so shortly get the 99% to bail out the banks and the highest 1% with many trillions of {dollars}, whereas discovering billions for preventing much more devastating local weather change has taken nearly 2 a long time to date with none convincing outcomes.

Personally observing mainstream TV information in UK throughout the week of the Durban talks revealed nearly no main headlines till the final day and even then just some moments of summarizing a whole two weeks, which after all just isn’t sufficient. However my very own observations weren’t systemmatic. Nonetheless, media watchdog Media Lens confirmed my fears of poor protection, not simply within the UK however elsewhere such because the US:

Media curiosity within the topic has crashed. Dr. Robert J. Brulle of Drexel College describes a collapse of any vital protection of local weather change within the [US] media. We all know that 2010 was a file low yr, and 2011 will in all probability look a lot the identical. If the media would not draw consideration to the problem, public opinion will decline.

Equally disturbing is the variation in media efficiency throughout the globe. A large-ranging Reuters examine on the prevalence of local weather skepticism on the earth’s media — Poles Aside — The worldwide reporting of local weather skepticism – centered on newspapers in Brazil, China, France, India, the UK and the USA. The durations studied have been February to April 2007 and mid-November 2009 to mid-February 2010 (a interval that included the UN local weather change summit in Copenhagen and Climategate). Remarkably, the examine concluded that local weather skepticism is predominantly an Anglo-Saxon phenomenon, discovered most steadily in US and British newspapers.

And so we discover that Britain and the US — the 2 nations responding most aggressively to alleged threats to human safety in nations like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya — are additionally the 2 nations least serious about responding to the very actual risk of local weather change.

Local weather Disaster – The Collapse In Company Media Protection
, Media Lens, December 1, 2011

An extra concern that Media Lens additionally raises is what they described as capitalism trampling on journalism:

A chief instance of this trampling was provided by the high-profile BBC sequence Frozen Planet, narrated by David Attenborough, specializing in life and the atmosphere within the Arctic and Antarctic. British viewers will see a complete of seven episodes, the final of which, On skinny ice, offers with the specter of local weather change.

Nonetheless, viewers in another nations will solely watch six episodes. It’s because the BBC packaged the sequence in such a approach that the local weather change episode was an non-compulsory further that overseas networks might select to reject. And reject it they did — of 30 networks internationally which have purchased the sequence, 10 have opted to not purchase the episode on local weather change. Most notable amongst them is the USA, the world’s main contributor each to local weather disaster and disinformation about the issue.

Local weather Disaster – The Collapse In Company Media Protection
, Media Lens, December 1, 2011

In the USA, the annual Tyndall Report, which displays the day by day nightly newscasts of the three principal TV shops (ABC, CBS, and NBC) discovered simply 4 tales on local weather change for the complete 2011 on the three prime time information exhibits, two of them being simply over 2 minutes every (the opposite two I can not entry from overseas).

The precise exhibits monitored are after all not the one information proven within the evenings, and different shops like CNN usually are not included, and neither is the Web, however 2/3rds of individuals get their information from TV within the US, as Jim Lobe famous in a information story protecting this yr’s Tyndall report. In that story, Andrew Tyndall, was interviewed by Jim Lobe who additionally added:

It’s secure to say that the community information is complicit on this nation’s [the USA] international warming denialism, reinforcing the issue, versus reporting on it.

Andrew Tyndall interviewed by Jim Lobe, Arab Spring Dominated TV Overseas Information in 2011, Inter Press Service, January 2, 2012

Again to high

And whereas it appears unimportant to the mainstream media, nature continues its course:

Whereas public concern grows and media protection collapses, the local weather change drawback goes by the roof. Based on a current examine by the US Division of Vitality, the worldwide output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the most important quantity on file in 2010. The world pumped about 564 million extra tons of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009, a rise of 6 per cent. The most recent figures imply that ranges of greenhouse gases are increased than the worst case state of affairs outlined by local weather consultants simply 4 years in the past, USA Immediately stories.

Within the US alone, roughly $3.5 bn is invested yearly in lobbying actions on the federal stage. In recent times, Royal Dutch Shell, the US Chamber of Commerce, Edison Electrical Institute, PG&E, Southern Firm, ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and ConocoPhillips all made the highest 20 listing of lobbyists. The local weather marketing campaign organisation estimates that 94 per cent of US Chamber of Commerce contributions went to local weather denier candidates.

Local weather Disaster – The Collapse In Company Media Protection
, Media Lens, December 1, 2011

And these are rises of carbon emissions even throughout the robust financial situations.

Media Lens and USA Immediately are referring to the international carbon venture report.

That report provides that though China, USA, India, and Russia accounted for the biggest emissions progress in 2010, Per capita emissions of developed nations stay a number of instances bigger than these of creating nations.

In different phrases, vital — and fairer — features will be obtained if wealthy nations would sort out their emissions (as has repeatedly been identified for some 2 a long time).

Reuters summarized the above report and likewise added {that a} separate examine revealed lately concluded there was nearly no probability of limiting warming to 2 levels Celsius primarily based on enormous investments in polluting energy stations.

The abstract of that report from the journal, Nature Local weather Change, worries: How nations intend to maintain inside a 2 °C threshold, not to mention think about at [sic] 1.5 °C threshold, is unclear in gentle of present progress (or lack of).

Regardless of Europe being heading in the right direction to fulfill its Kyoto commitments, international carbon dioxide emissions are nonetheless on the rise having spiked by 45% since 1990 to succeed in a file stage of 33 billion tonnes final yr.

… to remain beneath 2 °C all through this century, annual emissions must come down by about 4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equal from the current day stage to about 44 Gt of carbon dioxide equal in 2020. Even then, there’s only a 66% chance of staying throughout the 2 °C threshold by 2100. Out of the almost 200 eventualities studied, solely three give a 90% chance of staying beneath 2 °C this century, and all of these depend on commercially unproven applied sciences to seize and retailer carbon-based greenhouse gases. Even with using these applied sciences, there’s at finest a 50% chance of staying beneath 1.5 °C this century. Worryingly, if we wait till 2030 for emissions to peak, we’re extra prone to be seeking to keep away from 3 °C this century than 2 °C. In brief, the two °C threshold is steadily slipping of attain, and 1.5 °C already appears unachievable.

Crossing the brink, Nature Local weather Change, October 27, 2011, doi:10.1038/nclimate1288

Protecting the common temperature enhance inside 2 °C of pre-industrial ranges implies a goal of 450 elements per million (ppm) C02 within the environment. However 450ppm is already feared as not a secure goal, however the one sensible one to goal for now due to lack of progress amongst industrialized nations previously 2 a long time. And what if we get to 451 ppm?

How a lot will the world change if we enhance CO2 ranges to 451 ppm? Time will inform, however somehow we could also be duplicating in energy in simply 200 years what nature itself requires 10,000 years to do. We’re making use of that forcing past the purpose at which nature has at all times stopped.

We’re duplicating inside that quick time interval the best single drive on this planet that nature alone has wielded for the previous 2.5 million years. However nature does so slowly, rigorously and predictably.

We’re doing so quickly, erratically, and with out consciousness or understanding of the implications, and even taking lengthy sufficient to acknowledge that what we’re doing does certainly have an irreversible impact.

Sphaerica, (Fahrenheit) 451 ppm, Skeptical Science, December 11, 2011

Again to high

Widespread however Differentiated Accountability Precept Sidelined Once more

As Inter Press Service (IPS) summarized:

What’s abundantly clear is the large divide between the wealthy and poor nations. Poor nations need deep cuts in emissions by the industrialized world, and the latter proceed to withstand vital cuts and legally binding targets.

Stephen Leahy, Local weather Change: Historical past Was Not Made, Inter Press Service, December 19, 2009

This website’s part on local weather justice has lengthy gone into some element about

  • How the Widespread however Differentiated Accountability acknowledges that wealthy nations have emitted many of the greenhouse gases which can be inflicting local weather change, that creating nations’ emissions are prone to rise on their path to industrialization and making an attempt to fulfill fundamental social and growth wants; and that due to this fact whereas the objectives are the identical, the means to sort out local weather change can be completely different.
  • Yr after yr at local weather summits, it appears this precept is commonly ignored by some wealthy nations and their media.
  • It has due to this fact been simpler in public guilty nations like China and India for reacting negatively and being uncooperative when confronted with stress to undergo emission discount targets (earlier than many wealthy nations display they’ll do the identical).

Greenhouse gases have a tendency to stay within the environment for a lot of a long time so historic emissions are an vital consideration.

The next exhibits that the wealthy nations (often called Annex I nations in UN local weather change converse) have traditionally emitted greater than the remainder of the world mixed, regardless that China, India and others have been rising lately. That is why the widespread however differentiated obligations precept was acknowledged.

(Chart up to date in January 2012 so as to add knowledge as much as 2008 and preliminary estimates for 2009 and 2010)

Supply: Boden, T.A., G. Marland, and R.J. Andres, International, Regional, and Nationwide Fossil-Gas CO2 Emissions, Carbon Dioxide Data Evaluation Middle, Oak Ridge Nationwide Laboratory, 2011, DOI: 10.3334/CDIAC/00001_V2011. 2009 and 2010 estimates additionally from CDIAC, by Tom Boden and T.J. Blasing

Little doubt, creating nations ought to concentrate on their current rise and likewise do extra to curb their emissions. However given their later entry to industrialization and that their per capita emissions are even lower than wealthy nations, extra emission discount is also achieved per particular person in wealthy nations.

Supply: Boden, T.A., G. Marland, and R.J. Andres, International, Regional, and Nationwide Fossil-Gas CO2 Emissions, Carbon Dioxide Data Evaluation Middle, Oak Ridge Nationwide Laboratory, 2011, DOI: 10.3334/CDIAC/00001_V2011. 2009 and 2010 estimates additionally from CDIAC, by Tom Boden and T.J. Blasing

The US and others have characterised the marketing campaign for local weather justice and equality to the environment as a option to declare local weather reparations; that it’s unfair to make the industrialized nations pay for local weather emissions into the previous century or extra at a time after they didn’t know it could trigger extra hurt.

That appears cheap. Nonetheless, one of many implications is that any settlement that’s subsequently drawn up will, in impact, put disproportionately extra burden on the poorer nations to sort out an issue they didn’t largely trigger. The poor are much less prone to have the assets to take action, which additionally implies that tackling local weather change is much less possible to achieve success.

That is why wealthy nations are being requested to noticeably take into consideration the kind and approach they use vitality along with serving to the poorer nations (not essentially reparations however by significant know-how and adaptation help — which might be far less expensive than the bailouts readily handed to those that did trigger a significant drawback).

As well as, there’s little equity in asking China, India and others to be topic to emission targets when many wealthy nations didn’t obtain the watered down Kyoto targets themselves.

Some rising nations are in a gray space — India, China, Brazil, and so on are quickly creating and though they’ve monumental social and growth issues excellent, a few of their rich are as rich (some extra so) as these in industrialized nations. As such, wealthier creating nations aren’t essentially the goal (nor asking) for such adaptation funds.

It’s definitely extra complicated than just a few sentences on this web page can present, however the simplification provided by wealthy nation leaders and their media hides this complexity yr after yr. (See local weather justice from this website for extra particulars on this.)

Again to high

Durban assembly final result

The assembly in Durban appeared fairly intense; some such because the US and EU have been eager on getting China, India and different massive rising nations to signal on to binding emission discount agreements. These nations have been understandably reluctant and even when they could be gaining a stronger voice within the wake of the worldwide/Western monetary disaster, this assembly additionally confirmed that they haven’t eclipsed the West (at the very least not but) on the diplomatic entrance.

Stephen Leahy, writing for IPS, offers a helpful abstract of the Durban assembly:

The world is more and more dedicated to harmful ranges of worldwide warming with one more failure by nations of the world to conform to wanted reductions in carbon emissions right here in Durban.

After two weeks and a further 29 hours of intense and even bitter negotiations, the 193 nations taking part within the United Nations local weather talks agreed to a posh and technical set of paperwork known as the Durban Platform. These embody the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, a proper construction for a Inexperienced Local weather Fund, new market mechanisms, and extra.

At the moment the promised emission reductions by industrialised nations and people of China, Brazil, South Africa, India and others underneath the 2009 Copenhagen Accord assure a world that’s at the very least 3.5 levels Celsius hotter on common in response to local weather science. It is going to be double that over massive elements of the world. Some evaluation says this international common may very well be even increased rising to 4 or 5 levels Celsius threatening our species with annihilation.

Stephen Leahy, Settlement for New International Treaty To Scale back Emissions, Inter Press Service, December 12, 2011

Apparently, the extent of discount promised by the industrialized world is small in comparison with its portion of emissions. And it seems to be as if creating nations have misplaced out in some ways:

Regardless of the political posturing by the USA, Canada and even the European Union, the actual fact is that creating nations’ promised reductions are higher than the industrialised world which can be chargeable for 75 % of the entire human emissions within the environment.

Ready till 2020 to make main cuts means these cuts must be far deeper and way more pricey to have any hope of retaining temperatures beneath two levels Celsius,

The Durban Platform features a second dedication interval of the Kyoto Protocol that can start January 2013, avoiding a niche on the finish of the primary dedication interval ending subsequent yr. The size of the second dedication interval is to be determined at COP 18 in Qatar.

Creating nations insisted on this situation as a result of Kyoto is the one legally binding emissions discount settlement. Nonetheless, it solely requested for small reductions from industrialised nations like these in Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and some others. The U.S. opted out and Canada ignored its obligations and elevated emissions 24 %. And now Canada, Japan and Russia have stated they are going to take not participate within the second dedication interval.

Stephen Leahy, Settlement for New International Treaty To Scale back Emissions, Inter Press Service, December 12, 2011

However it’s not simply creating nations which have misplaced out; the vast majority of the primary world can have misplaced out too. As a result of, as Stephen Leahy rightly notes, trillions are simply and shortly made out there to bail out the elite in a monetary crises. However in terms of a fair greater disaster that’s additional away (and admittedly tougher, maybe, to internalize), funds out of the blue appear onerous to search out; governments are out of the blue cash-strapped.

Non-public sources explicitly embody carbon markets as governments from the wealthy nations steadily cited the monetary disaster has tied their purse strings. Civil society and a few creating nations famous that governments have made trillions of {dollars} out there for the financial institution and monetary sector and that world’s navy price range is greater than 10 instances what is required for the GFC [Green Climate Fund].

Stephen Leahy, Settlement for New International Treaty To Scale back Emissions, Inter Press Service, December 12, 2011

See additionally George Monbiot’s notice on this, evaluating the $7 trillion in US bailout for their very own banks, whereas an estimate for capping local weather change globally would require lower than a tenth of that: $650 billion. And distinction how shortly the trillions have been made out there versus how difficult it’s for a local weather fund to come back about.

The opposite vital challenge for creating nations is that any local weather fund be impartial of Western management, someway, due to the dangerous expertise most poor nations have had previously.

There was various outcry on the stance of the US. Democracy Now! for instance reported on the Startling Stage of Obstructionism and Defeatism by the Obama Administration on a U.N. Local weather Deal, choosing non-legally binding agreements.

Others, such because the EU, wished a brand new legally binding settlement, however because the Third World Community, primarily based in Malaysia, requested, What’s the level of a brand new treaty? In Bali, 2007, the mechanisms have been already agreed:

The fact is that the Local weather Conference and the Kyoto Protocol that make up the prevailing legally binding local weather structure desperately want implementing, not changing. Developed nations seem progressive by asking for a legally binding treaty or the mandate for one, when the true fact is that they’re violating the present legally binding regime, shifting he goalpost agreed within the Bali Roadmap, and reneging on agreements for a second dedication interval of the Kyoto Protocol.

Constructing on the Bali Mandate
, Third World Community, December 2011

This double-standard (in lots of areas, not simply atmosphere) is a significant purpose many protests have erupted all through the industrialized world. The elite appear to date faraway from the consequences of local weather change that maybe there isn’t any incentive for them to do issues about it, successfully, in contrast to throughout the current monetary disaster. As a substitute, resigning to a excessive stage of warming is probably acceptable to the elite as they are going to be higher geared up to cope with it.

Again to high

Extra info

For extra concerning the points from different organizations, listed here are some beginning factors:

Information tales from IPS

Under is a listing of tales from Inter Press Service associated to the Durban local weather convention and its aftermath.

  1. US Supreme Courtroom ruling on environmental safety ‘a setback in our combat in opposition to local weather change’