It is day two of the UN climate negotiations and the conference center is starting to buzz. Most of our climate experts have arrived in Poznan and our office is full of laptops, empty coffee mugs and buzzing cell phones. One of the first things that we noticed when we arrived was that the office was lit with incandescent bulbs. You would think that a conference center hosting a United Nations meeting on climate change might have considered energy efficiency when setting up the offices for more than 8,000 people but apparently not. We figured change has to start somewhere so we went ahead and replaced the bulbs in our office with energy efficient ones.
We’re all making small changes to do our part when it comes to climate change. What we need now, is for the leaders at the UN meeting to get serious and start making real decisions on climate changes. Here is a simple breakdown to what we are hoping for at this meeting.
• a “shared vision” for the future. Not a ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ kind of vision but a ‘safe healthy planet’ vision – and an action plan to achieve it. As the Japanese proverb goes, a vision without action is just a daydream
• draft negotiating text on the table - make good on the promises that were made to all of us at last year’s meeting in Bali - we were promised a completed plan by Copenhagen in December 2009 - if this is going to happen our leaders need to get serious now
• a detailed workplan - if an action plan is going to be successful then there needs to be a workplan- our leaders need to agree to next steps and a timeline for the action plan
• agreement from developed countries on big cuts in greenhouse gases. These must be at the upper end of a 25-40% range that IPCC scientists identified last year as the targets with the best chance of keeping global temperature increase below 2 degrees C.