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The inconvenient truth

Many years ago, in a desperately poor village in Rajasthan, people decided to plant trees on the land adjoining their pond so that its catchment would be protected. But this land belonged to the revenue department and people were fined for trespass. The issue hit national headlines. The stink made the local administration uncomfortable. They then came up with a brilliant game plan—they allotted the land to a group of equally poor people. In this way the poor ended up fighting the poor. The local government got away with the deliberate murder of a water body.

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.

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”

The latest Indaba text: bad for the developing world

Chandra Bhushan Durban, December 9: Today morning at 8.00 am the Indaba Text, which is a proposal of the CoP Chair on the major outcomes from the Durban conference, was released. The text has the following elements which could eventually form the basis of a Durban declaration or agreement:

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

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.

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

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.

Factsheet: Will the Kyoto Protocol survive?

Countries are likely to debate on the fate of the Kyoto Protocol in the forthcoming Conference of Parties at Durban. How likely is a deal? Read more to find out what are the other issues on the table at Durban Read more