Enthusiasm at “Low Ebb” for COP17 Climate Conference in Durban

Little enthusiasm was expressed at the recent meeting of the UN General Assembly for the upcoming COP17 climate conference later this year in Durban South AfricaScant sign was given last week st the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York that world leaders are focused on international climate change negotiations. With only three months before the COP17 climate conference in Durban, South Africa – where a decision must be made to either extent the Kyoto Protocol into a “second commitment period” or scrap it entirely – little mention of global warming, if any, was made in the string of speeches from the assembled heads-of-state.

Some officials familier with international climate negotiating process insist that progress made in Cancún at last year’s COP16 conference continues, as committees set up Cancún work on proposals to generate billions of dollars in climate aid funding for developing nations – among the most vulnerable populations to climate disruption.

But the visage of the bitterness and disappointment of the 2009 COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen is still palpable, where a watered-down, last-minute, back room deal left the entire process in a shambles.

Many fear the current pace of negotiations could lead to a repeat of that experience later this year in Durban. An added threat, experts say, is that in Durban no world leaders will swoop in at the last minute to cobble together even a flawed agreement, as happened in Copenhagen. While some nations are considering options to keep the Kyoto Protocol alive in a second commitment period past 2012, many are now expressing concern that differences over the future of the agreement and aid for developing countries could spell an end to the process.

“I think this is a low ebb in terms of excitement over what the international community could do to arrest global warming,” said Mohammed Waheed Hassan, vice president of the Republic of the Maldives. “The biggest danger would be if there is no way out for Kyoto, an extension of the Kyoto Protocol.”

“I call on you to reach a binding climate change agreement, an agreement with more ambitious national and global emissions targets,” Ban pleaded to the hundreds of delegates assembled. “And we need action on the ground now, on cutting emissions and on adaptation.”

“To preserve our planet, we must not put off action that climate change demands,” the president said. “Together, we must continue our work to build on the progress made in Copenhagen and Cancun so that all the major economies here today follow through on the commitments that were made.”

One of the few leaders speaking at length about climate change was Mexico’s Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, where he stressed the need for success in Durban.

“I fear … that if there is not sufficient political leadership or a firm commitment of the United Nations in Durban, we might lose part of what we have gained in countering climate change,” Calderón said. “Let us not forget that the Kyoto Protocol expires next year.”

Instead of focusing on the contentious United Nations COP process, some world leaders are looking to the upcoming Rio+20 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil next June for addressing global environmental and sustainability issues. The summit marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 conference in Rio the spawned the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the governing arm of the COP climate conferences that led to the Kyoto Protocol.

Lee Myung-bak, president of South Korea, made no  mention of the COP17 conference in South Africa, but told the Assembly of his hope that Rio+20 could bring “a solid vision and action plan towards economically, socially and environmentally sustainable development.”

Addressing the changes of success in Durban later this year, South African president Jacob Zuma said the global community “dare not fail” the people suffering from climate disruptions such as drought, floods, and rising seas. Zuma also stressed that avoiding failure required all nations be involved in climate negotiations, suggesting his hope that COP17 avoid the stigma of Denmark’s hosting of COP15.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schuenemanhttps://tdsenvironmentalmedia.com
Tom is the founder and managing editor of GlobalWarmingisReal.com and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Get in Touch

  1. Unfortunately I think the threat of global warming is like any global threat. After an initial scare period people seem to forget that the threat is still happening. Exactly the same thing happened with the aids epidemic. Although there are still thousands of people dying of aids the push to stop this occurring has stopped. In the same way it seems to be out of sight out of mind in terms of global warming too.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Articles

Stay in touch

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.


Latest Posts