This week in ClimatePULSE we take a look at the recently concluded UN Climate Change conference in Poznan, Poland. Although the conference brought together some 200 countries to discuss how to tackle global climate change, it was largely shadowed by a global economic crisis and a leadership vacuum in the U.S. The conference was apparently more about process than measurable targets, as hardly any firm targets were set. And even though expectations for the conference weren’t high, it seemed as if the talks were merely a pre-cursor to much more anticipated discussions in Copenhagen next year where a new Kyoto Protocol will be agreed upon. So what did the conference actually accomplish? Well, not much, but some progress was made, particularly regarding deforestation and so-called “adaptation funds” (money to help poor countries counter the future impacts of climate change). In this article we’ll present some of the booms and busts of the conference.
* Mexico agreed to cut emissions 50% below 2002 levels by 2050, a much more aggressive target than its richer, but more complacent neighbour (ahem, U.S.A).
* Brazil promised a 70% cut in its annual deforestation rate by 2017
* India announced a plan to boost solar power
* South Africa initiated a program to stop the growth of its carbon emissions by 2025
* Progress was also made in the area of technology transfer, with the endorsement of the “Global Environment Facility’s Poznan Strategic Programme of Technology Transfer” – a plan that helps developing countries receive investments for clean technology
* The conference agreed to set up an adaptation fund that will become operational next year (although it’s not exactly clear where the estimated $37 billion will come from)
* Additionally, the conference moved all parties into a “negotiating mode”, meaning that they are in a better position to draw up a final agreement next year
* And although the EU has already committed to a 20 per cent target by 2020, the EU reps said that will go up to 30 per cent if a global deal is reached
* At the end of the day, most of the major issues were left to be dealt with at Copenhagen next year
* There were no firm carbon emission reduction targets set
* Corporations and environmental groups are still in fundamental disagreement
* Developing and emerging countries were frustrated with industrialized nations and accused them of “callousness” and a “vision gap”, particularly regarding their rejection of a mandate that would allow poor states to better cope with global warming
* At the meeting of states’ government representatives no effort was made to express the views of indigenous peoples, outraging indigenous delegates
I’ll let you decide whether the conference was in fact a boom or bust. But many would have to agree with Barry Coates, senior executive of the charity group Oxfam International who stated;
“The lack of progress at Poznan merits outrage.”
I believe it was simply more frustrating than enraging, considering the lack of a fresh U.S presence and more of the same old from the industrialized nations. Invariably, the real progress should come next year in Copenhagen when nations will have to stop dragging their feet.
ClimateCHECK is a greenhouse gas (GHG) management services and solutions company. The firm’s solutions support all facets of the carbon commodities market, including the verification, validation and consultation of GHG inventories and program portfolios, as well as quantification protocols for emissions reduction projects and clean technologies. ClimateCHECK is a sponsor and co-founded, with World Resources Institute and Carbon Disclosure Project, the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute (www.ghginstitute.org). Founded in March 2007, the company has locations throughout North America. For more information visit www.climate-check.com