Posts Tagged ‘Copenhagen’

climate protection after COP-15 disaster

Monday, December 21st, 2009

The 2009 UN Climate Change conference – better know as COP 15 – ended with a surprise. Many expected the conference to fail, but even the notorious naysayer  was staggered by its apparent collapse. Though I can not hide my satisfaction about COP-15s triumphal disgrace, the “outcome” of the conference was a disaster for the planet. Basically, there’s no agreement on any limitation of CO2 emissions, no roadmap how to support each other to combat climate change nor even the will, to achieve any kind of binding agreement in the new future. To say, we don’t want the global average temperature to rise by more than 2 degree until 2100 won’t bother the climate at all. Considering, that most states and scientist were frankly aware of the dimension of the threat of global warming before the summit, the result is the more embarrassing. It’s like Spock asking “Captain Kirk, our starship is about to crash into that huge rocky planet in front of us. Do you want me to slow down and change direction?” And Captain Kirk answering “Thank you for that information. Please, open another bottle of wine.”

So who has lost? Most obviously, the victims of climate change – that is future generations, third world countries, peace – are the main losers. But as I will point out later, there’s still hope for them. However, the idea that the climate crisis can be controlled on a governmental level has shown to be false. Not only that the so called political leaders had been unwilling and incapable to seriously fight against global warming and climate justice, the problem was way too complex and the positions to diverse to be solved by one huge summit. This fact challenge the role of the United Nations to host a framework in the fight against the climate catastrophe. If the UN fail to develop new forms of global governance, there historical doom is inevitable. Moreover, both the United States of America and the European Union passed up a chance to take a leading role in the global struggle against global warming. Consequently, they missed a chance to increase political, international influence and to open new markets. As a result, the saving of the planet will take place without  governments, or it won’t take place at all.

The COP-15 conference showed clearly, that the support of the civil society wasn’t welcome. The number of NGO delegates has been reduced from day to day and the peaceful demonstrations faced with police violence. On the other hand, the politicians and delegates who felt to be in charge, failed as mentioned above. As a result, we – the civil society –  have to claim leadership. It’s our last change. We have to build local communities to fight against global warming. We have to inspire and empower each other to find creative and working solutions, we have to exercise non-violant disobedience to stop the building of new coal-power stations, highways etc. and we have to organise climate protection bottom-up. If we lead the turn of our carbon addict society into a zero-emission society, our elected representatives will follow.

warming up for COP-15

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

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.