18 Dec 2011

Was Durban a success?

Caroline Lucas gave a very cautious welcome to the recent climate change conference but also went on to say how much is still needed - see here - I don't think anyone is under illusions about how much more work is needed but in these times when there is a lot of despair around the inaction re climate change it was good to get this email below from Adi Lawton (of www.cotswold-solar.co.uk). Adi has kindly let me reprint it here:

Of all the environmental concerns, runaway climate change is the biggest. For 17 years the UN have been trying to sort it. Copenhagen (COP15) was successful by getting all countries to attend (and show intent via the Copenhagen Accord). The Cancun (COP16) agreement was successful by getting all countries to agree on somehow capping global warming at 2C. Now the "Durban Platform" (COP17) has got all countries to agree to participate in a legally binding deal to reduce emissions.
This is significant - even though the details of the deal wont be set until 2015. Significant because every country is on board! This means no country can opt out anymore - on the excuse that: I'm not doing it - because they're not (and the implications on domestic economies losing competitiveness from that). Global warming was caused by massive industries and is essentially "top-down" created and ....given the time pressure to sort this before its irreversible... the solution needs to be top-down too.
We now have the "top" of that "top-down". We now have a real chance to actually prevent warming above 2C. Voluntary actions would never have done it alone!
BUT... the the details of the deal have to be worked on to address "ambition gap" (difference between that which is pledged to be reduced and amount which needs to be reduced to cap warming at 2C).
The UNFCCC has incrementally been getting there - each year almost appearing to fail but actually holding them together - this year Europes' spokesperson Connie Hedegaard really was the Heroine. Thank goodness for her and all of them really.
Anyway, as hope is reinstalled I write this partly to inform for those unaware (news dominated by economy) and partly to invite organisers to hold a Monthly discussion group on the "Ambition Gap" . As the top is in place - the bottom-up/ domestic efforts can all count for so much more (UK only 2% of problem). So efforts are now being done in EVERY country - it re-empowers the grass roots movements (Bottom-up) - so the efforts are all adding up and  no longer potentially futile. Local effort has been galvanised or empowered by this international road map we now have. Phew! The ambition gap (or ratcheting up targets) is the UNFCCC step. How can local efforts help this process?

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