UN Climate Change Negotiations:  Current Realities and the Way Forward

UN Climate Change Negotiations: Current Realities and the Way Forward

The UN hosted the panel at which the talks took place.

I was recently able to attend an event related to climate change that was held at the Temporary North Lawn Building of the UN. The event was moderated by Shetal Shah of Nord-Sud XXI, and the panel consisted of the Ambassador of Bolivia to the United Nations, Pablo Solon, as well as co-director of the International Action Center and author, Sara Flounders.

The panel was held in a moderately sized conference room filled, pretty much, to capacity. Not knowing exactly what was going to be talked about, I was pleasantly surprised to find that attendees were provided with a copy of a table comparing the People’s Agreement with the Copenhagen Accord, which was to be one of the focal points of the discussion.

One of the key differences highlighted by the table included the People’s Agreement’s ambitious plan to limit global temperature increase to 1 degree Celsius, compared to the Copenhagen Accord’s 2 degrees Celsius. Even more interesting, perhaps, and one of the primary focuses of the panel, were the differences in funding. According to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, while the Copenhagen Accord currently asks only .005% of developed nations’ GDPs between 2010 and 2012 (a figure that could rise to .05% by 2020), the People’s Agreement would be looking more in the range of 6%. The difference in the two figures is, quite obviously, phenomenal. If anything is to be done about climate change, it will require a very solid investment on the part of developed countries, and the Agreement reflects this where the Accord might fall short.

Solon placed emphasis on the Copenhagen Accord being one of reciprocity, while the People’s Agreement is one that focuses on the historical nature of emissions. Though the emissions of developing countries are rapidly rising, Solon and the People’s Agreement ask us to reflect on the nature of emissions in the past as a way of planning for the future. The developing nations of the world’s emissions are rising, but the developed nations’ emissions have been high for a great deal of time already. Rather than just dwelling on this, however, it is crucial that we look at now as an opportunity to direct funds towards helping nations avoid the mistakes and pitfalls associated with being so reliant on non-renewable energy and unsustainable practices.

Photo courtesy of Ashitakka