warming up for COP-15

Piteå – Copenhagen, 20 hours time to sum up my expectations for the Climate Summit COP-15, the reason of journey.

A lot has been said in the run-up to the summit, at which nothing less than the future of our planet will be negotiated. If mankind fails to decrease carbon-dioxide emissions dramatically in the next 4 decades, climate change will cause unimaginable disasters and destroy most of the basic conditions of human life. Already now – after two centuries of reckless economical growth and constant increase of CO2-emissions – many regions in the developing world are suffering from climate change. And what ever result COP-15 will bring, the world wide average temperature would raise for a while, causing even more suffering and destruction. Therefore, COP-15 won’t just discuss how to limit climate change, but also who will have to pay for its consequences.

Hence, COP-15 is basically a summit about justice. Whereas most of the western countries can look at the climate question from a pure economical point of view, developing countries have to fight for there survival. It’s the developed part of the world which stands for the vast majority of CO2 emissions, but it’s the developing part, which suffers most. Whether this gross injustice can be solved, will to a great extent determine, if the summit was an success or not.

But, of course, sharing the costs of climate change is not enough. The summit will have to decide a road map for the transformation from our emission extensive economy to a sustainable, low-to-zero emission one until 2050. This is true with any branch of economy and every country in the world. Most obviously, the developed countries will have to manage the turn to renewable energies and higher energy efficiency. Though the energy need of these countries is insane, they have the best conditions (money and know-how) to master these tasks.

However, that won’t be enough. The poorest countries in the world will have to find a way to develop their economy in a sustainable way. As there’s not a lot to transform, this is a relatively easy problem. Given, the west provides green know-how and link its foreign aid with strict ecological conditions.

The biggest problem will be the newly industrialising countries, though. They already emit ridiculous amounts of CO2 (China for instance, is the biggest CO2 emitter in the world) and they are determined to continue their partly rapid growth in the future. They will have to find a way to both replace their old, dirty power plants and to base future investments in sustainable, green technology. Again, the west will have to provide know-how, but a great effort has do be done by the emerging nations itself. To find a way, how to combine sustainability and economical growth, will be a key question.

If the COP-15 conference agree on such a road map, it will be a success. In my eyes, the question is not, which country emits how much carbon-dioxide in 2020, 2030 and 2050. They question is, how every country reduce their emissions to the most possible extend and how they can help each other in that enormous task.


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