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Climate Change


Equity: the next frontier in climate talks

In 1992, when the world met to discuss an agreement on climate change, equity was a simple concept: sharing the global commons—the atmosphere in this case—equally among all. It did not provoke much anxiety, for there were no real claimants. However, this does not mean the concept was readily accepted. A small group of industrialised countries had burnt fossil fuels for 100 years and built up enormous wealth. This club had to decide what to do to cut emissions, and it claimed all countries were equally responsible for the problem. In 1991, just as the climate convention was being finalised, a report, released by an influential Washington think tank, broke the news that its analysis showed India, China and other developing countries were equally responsible for greenhouse gases. Anil Agarwal and I rebutted this and brought in the issue of equitable access to the global commons. We also showed, beyond doubt, that the industrialised countries were singularly responsible for the increased greenhouse gases.

The final outcome of the Durban Conference on Climate Change

 

Saturday morning, December 10th



Our assessment: "The Durban Conference is a turning point in the climate change negotiations as even though developing countries have won victories, these have come after much acrimony and fight. At Durban the world has agreed to urgent action, but now it is critical that this action to reduce emissions must be based on equity. India's proposal on equity has been included in the work plan for the next conference. It is clear from this conference that the fight to reduce emissions effectively in an unequal world will be even more difficult in the years to come. But it is a conference, which has put the issue of equity back into the negotiations. It is for this reason an important move ahead."


Some decisions and what they imply

 

Indian environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan gives hard hitting speech, receives standing ovation

Durban, December 9: Following is the text of the minister's speech:

Indaba Session:December 10, 2011 – 1800 hrs

Remarks by Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan, Hon’ble Minister for Environment & Forests

Thank you Madam Chair. I do not know how to start. I have heard people across the room carefully. I am from India and I represent 1.2 billion people. My country has a tiny per capita carbon footprint of 1.7 ton and our per capita GDP is even lower.

A Doog fomentry on CoP-17

Three doog lines from The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock by T S Eliot provide an objective correlative of what happened November 28 to December 9, 2011 at the Nkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention centre, where the 17th climate conference is being held:

“Let us go then, you and I


When the evening is spread upon the sky


Like a patient etherised upon a table”

REDD+: India goes all out on safeguards, Tuvalu plays spoilsport

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Durban, December 8, 2011: At the deliberations on REDD+ in the meetings of the SBSTA (Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice), India has reportedly devoted its time and energy in ensuring safeguards for the rights of indigenous communities and for conserving natural forests, giving the lie to the impression that nothing was being done on the issue. In fact, Indian negotiators point out that of the three elements under discussion in the SBSTA (safeguards, MRV and benchmarks), safeguards is the only one which has been thoroughly discussed.

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Jeez, Mr.Stern: 2 degree C target is just a guidepost?

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Durban, December 7: Transcript of the US press briefing by Todd Stern, Durban, December 7, 2011

Todd Stern: Negotiations are continuing...Both Kyoto and what happens in the future, questions and the issues relating to implementation of Cancun Agreement... Let me take your questions.

At the cusp of another lost decade

 The climate talk at Durban is heading for a stalemate. I do not see any major breakthrough other than some sort of “Durban declaration / mandate” to take the negotiation process forward. We might also have some decision on Green Climate Fund and its architecture, which the host South Africa and the African Union is pushing for. 

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