The environment is harsh, but there is life in the desert

 

Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis
Fundación Biosfera, CANLA

COP 18 is now done. A key milestone in our international negotiations for a global agreement on climate action has passed, and very little progress has been made. Global negotiations on climate change will continue next year, loaded with responsibility. Many tasks are overdue, the two most important being mitigation ambition and financial transfer.

But what happened in Doha? Russia, Poland and Ukraine continuously blocked the negotiations under KP for the 2nd commitment period; while NZ and Japan obstucted in another way: saying they would pull out of KP while enjoying the benefits. The US and Canada worked together to play a very unconstructive role in the negotiations as far as climate finance, as well.  

With things like this happening on a daily basis, the good efforts of some countries to create a positive outcome from Doha seem to be overlooked. It is important to make this clear: there are some positive things in the UNFCCC. UK and France some countries expressed their willingness to contribute to financial support in this COP, while others, such as Monaco, pledged emission reductions for 2020. Some developing countries, like the Dominican Republic, even pledged a 25% absolute reduction by 2030 without international support.

The positive actions we have seen in Doha are small compared to the empty Climate Fund and remarkably low ambition from some developed countries to reduce their GHG emissions. This kind of situation puts the world on a difficult scenario to 4ºC.

All of this being said, you cannot blame those who question this process, especially because they hear only of disappointments, lack of ambition and frustration. Many people ask us, the Civil Society Organizations, why we continue to attend COPs if they don’t lead anywhere. I can understand them, but I believe that, even though the last COPs did not deliver a global agreement, many movements and environmental programs around the world were born from this process. Changes have happened- believe it or not.

As a final thought, observers in UN are key witnesses to what governments are doing. The world knows what is happening thanks to people like us, who are not driven by only one interest- the integrity of this world’s environment.

 

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