Audible Action

The atmosphere during yesterday afternoon’s high-level speeches was punctuated by some progressive and inspiring deliveries. The rest of the speeches though were mostly a degree of adequacy, while the usual suspects did not disappoint the cynics.

ECO employed its team of applause measurers to find out who was hot and who was not. From the tranquillity of polite clapping to the extended and enthusiastic ovations given to some, here are some highlights of words that mattered.

The afternoon began with South Africa (on behalf of the G77 and China) welcoming a 2007 operationalisation of the Adaptation Fund. There was no mistaking the importance to this group of “one country, one vote” for the governance of the adaptation.

Like many, China urged the need to integrate a clear framework of sustainable development into the package of future direction. China urged Annex I cuts’ talks to be concluded by 2008 and not later than 2009. A declaration of reducing domestic per unit gross domestic product energy consumption by 20 per cent from 2005 to 2010 was well received.

Scoring top of the applause scale was Denmark, with a visionary speech that declared this set of talks must not be about “speeches like this”, but about immediate action, now. A pointed statement to the big industrialised emitters who are not party to the Kyoto Protocol certainly gained a few more claps as well.

Norway reaffirmed its 50 per cent reductions by 2050 and spoke of a necessary major shift in consumption and production activities. The mixed-bag applause meter ranked Norway on firm middle ground.

The lull of the evening came in the form of an energetic defence of Canada’s position. Unfortunately for Canada, neither did the energy translate into clapping nor did the defence have much basis – see table on next page.

Had it been show business, following Canada should have been a blessing, but even so, the European Community prompted a reasonable level of applause owing to a focus on rapidly operationalising the Adaptation Fund, enhancing technology transfer and small-scale sustainable energy projects. Combined with its statement “let’s build the framework” reasonable clapping was achieved.

Another lull – only rivalled by Canada’s – was generated by the difficult challenge of Saudi Arabia in proclaiming that some methods of disincentivising fossil fuels were “unacceptable”.  A second challenge that left some posturing – and therefore probably distracted from clapping – was the Saudi’s neat connection drawn between carbon capture and storage, Clean Development Mechanism and sustainable development.

It was only fair that the evening needed bringing up again, and so France stepped up to deliver an impassioned speech including its determination to cut emissions by 75 per cent by 2050. France emphasised the urgent need for more ambitious targets after 2012. The final key for France’s good applause was in isolating the position of “some” who have “refused to follow the path of collective action”, who “maintain the illusion” and avoid disaster by “magic”.

A retort may not have followed, but the US was steely and resolved in its “coalition” to combat climate change. The audible lack of applause may once more have been confused and unappreciative of US efforts for fighting climate change, including investment in nuclear fission. The US urged a global effort and the need to find different approaches. It seemed the mood had come down once more.

But it was not long before Germany came to the podium and spurred on some more of the good applause needed. A key challenge extended to the EU was Germany’s commitment to a 40 per cent cut by 2020 if the EU goes for 30 per cent for 2020. The applause was additionally loud owing to a call for “an ambitious and robust post-2012 regime”, which, according to the Minister, required negotiations from 2007 onwards to finish in 2009.

Riding on the wave came the UK, which managed a decent applause despite a thinning crowd. A firm commitment to a “no gap” global agreement was welcomed, as was the reemphasis on the urgency of Adaptation funding. The UK also capitalised on the Stern report demonstrating the urgent economic case for action on tackling climate change.

As people continued to leave, an eerie sense of isolation overcame the room. It was Australia’s turn.

  Get a Sense of Urgency
It is inconceivable for Parties to leave Nairobi without concrete and progressive decisions on climate change, the Climate Action Network (CAN) said during an intervention at the plenary session yesterday.
  US Political Climate Heats Up
Three powerful Senators poised to take over the helm of key Senate committees have united in an appeal to President Bush to heed the election results and join them in aggressively pushing measures to limit US global warming pollution.
  Oh Canada…
At the ministerial high-level plenary yesterday afternoon, Canadian Environment Minister Rona Ambrose delivered a strong speech. Unfortunately a few key points were missing…
  Contributors to ECO
The Climate Action Network expresses its appreciation to: Mozaharul Alam, Valentine Batra, Ruta Bubniene, Katherine Bunney, Daniele Calza Bini, Gary Cook, Red Constantino, Jos Cozijnsen, Louise Corneau, Laetitia De Marez, Naomi Devine, Andrew Dumbrille, John Dumbrille and Tom Nesbitt (Ecobitz, www.ecobitz.com), Mhairi Dunlop, Matthias Duwe, Morten Eriksen, Keith Ewing, Catherine Fitzpatrick, Maia Green, Kathrin Guttman, Bill Hare, Saleemul Huq, Sivan Kartha, Michael Kersula, Kaisa Kosonen, Stephanie Long, Simone Lovera, Mark Lutes, Kirsten Macey, Lester Malgas, Alden Meyer, Emilie Moorhouse, Jennifer Morgan, Melanie Nakagawa, Angelique Orr, PJ Partington, Catherine Pearce, Tom Picken, Julie-Anne Richards, Steve Sawyer, Stephan Singer, Moekti Soejachmoen, David Turnbull, Sanjay Vashist, Hans Verolme, Gabriela von Goerne, Katherine Watts, Richard Worthington, Naoyuki Yamagishi, and everyone else who contributed in one way or another to ECO at COP12 and COP/MOP2.
The Climate Action Network expresses its appreciation to the following organisations for their generous contributions towards the publication of ECO at this conference: WWF International, Greenpeace International, FOE International, David Suzuki Foundation, RAC France, Helio International, Équiterre, Natural Resources Defense Council, NET, Practical Action, CAN-Europe, USCAN, Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Defense, Acid Rain Secretariat 2006, World Resources Institute, National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Protection Society Malaysia, Kiko Network, The Nature Conservancy, CASA, WWF UK, Tearfund, Pelangi, United Nations Office Nairobi.

Download file: http://ECOCOP12En10.pdf

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