Mixed feelings about the Durban climate talks
As you sure know, the Durban Climate talks ended Sunday. There are some good news, but they are mostly bad. Good news first : The Kyoto Protocol has been extended until 2017.
Another good news : the Durban agreement was the first ever to bind all countries to act on climate change. Sure, this is merely halfway through business as usual and the needed target.
But this is the further we have ever been on climate negotiation ! Even if it won’t be enough, even if it is far from what should be done at a global level, we are going forward on climate.
As The Mail & Guardian Online noted :
(g)overnments managed to find a last-minute deal that should lead to the first legally binding global agreement on climate change covering developed and developing countries, they did not discuss whether their pledges to cut emissions would prevent dangerous levels of global warming.
Under the Durban agreement, governments will now spend four years negotiating how far and how fast each country should cut carbon emissions.
The Durban agreements are not enough to keep temperatures to rise two degrees celcius above pre-industrial times, which is considered as the safe limit by most governments (scientists however have shown that it might be too much)
I am getting more and more confident. Countries that were completely reluctant are witnessing climate weirding and warming. They are thus brought to action.
It seems that these days, only the United States – as well as some others like Canada – are not moving at all on climate. Sure, China is polluting more and more, but their clean energy and efficiency targets are more and more aggressive.
Patience is key. Energy efficiency is gaining traction, renewables and cleantech in general are already making economic sense today. Even more important : they are both booming and are becoming more important than fossil fuels.
Meanwhile, some countries are moving forward, like Australia or Brazil ; meanwhile, large companies are seeing their interest is in sustainability ; meanwhile, thousands of people are changing views on climate and acting more and more.
Let’s keep on acting and advocating. I am confident we can manage this !
Here are some articles dedicated to what happened and what we can infer from Durban :
- Recharge : Was Durban a climate breakthrough or disaster?
- Friends of the Earth : Disastrous “durban package” accelerates onset of climate catastrophe
- Climate Progress : Stavins: Assessing the Climate Talks — Did Durban Succeed?
- The Energy Collective : Are Durban Outcomes Historic or Hollow
- Grist : What exactly happened at Durban?