On Monday climate change negotiations got under way in Barcelona – “the final chance for negotiators to hammer out a text before December’s Copenhagen summit”.
It seems that these vital talks may have failed already. Geoff Keey reports:
It’s been a dramatic first day at the climate change negotiations here in Barcelona and it’s fair to say frustration with developed countries like New Zealand has exploded. The Kyoto Protocol negotiations are currently suspended. Until further notice, there will be no negotiations over the Kyoto Protocol.
The first signs of trouble occurred in the morning when the African Group (the group of African countries at the negotiations who work together) warned that if there wasn’t sufficient progress in the negotiations on developed country emission reduction targets, they’d walk about and not allow further meetings to be scheduled.
The African Group’s threat reflects increasing frustration over the refusal of developed countries like New Zealand to adopt strong climate change targets.
Then in the afternoon, the chair of the meeting to discuss developed country targets told countries to not restate their targets (eg – like New Zealand’s nothing- 20% target) but to talk about how they could increase those targets. In other words, current proposed targets are well below what’s needed.
The request from the chair of the negotiations was met with complete silence from developed countries for around five minutes before South Africa finally said they were disappointed no developed country was willing to speak. From then on a walk-out was inevitable.
We’ve been spending much of the evening working out what’s going on. As I learn more, I’ll let you know….
We have been shamed by Africa. Yes, they are playing a very dangerous game of brinksmanship. But I agree with their actions. In this case an inadequate Treaty is as bad as no Treaty. The laws of physics are not going to give us a free pass. If we lack the will to save the environment we might as well stop pretending and go home – and never meet our children’s eyes again.
[Updates will probably appear here first.]