Week two in Poznan starts with a small pause in the official meetings for the observation of the Islamic feast of Eid Al-Adha. While it is officially a day off here, there is still plenty going on in the conference center in Poznan. The second week is when the majority of journalists and ministers arrive and the negotiations really start to heat up. I can already feel the conference center starting to swell with new people.
Last week’s talks left some here wondering why so many governments are still waiting for the USA to make the first move and take real action on climate change. President- elect Obama has promised that the USA will be a leader in the international process but the rest of the world still seems unable to GET SERIOUS about taking the necessary action on climate change. We’ve been hearing the ‘waiting for the USA’ refrain since Bush abandoned the Kyoto Protocol seven years ago and it’s getting old.
Why should we wait another year for government leaders to make good on what they promised a year ago in Bali?
It turns out that the most inspirational leadership is actually coming from the small Pacific Island country of Tuvalu, with its ‘shared vision’ of a 1.5 degree limit on temperature increase. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of followers.
Let's talk numbers
The IPCC range of 25-40% cuts in emissions for developed countries is back on the table in a move to get stronger wording. The text around this was weakened in Bali, last year. Countries like Japan, Australia, Canada and Russia are opposing this strengthening change while developing countries are supporting it.
With the current state of economics on just about everyone’s minds these days, financing solutions to climate change in the poorer areas of the world was meant to be the big theme of COP 14. These countries have come forward with concrete proposals during the last year but industrialized countries still have nothing new to offer at this year’s UN meeting failing to come up with their own new proposals or even responding to those already on the table. Disappointing to say the least.
I’m still learning about the entire process at these negotiations, but it seems to me that all of the countries here are admitting that climate change is a real problem and that we need action to tackle it. Unfortunately, it also seems that most of them are claiming that some how their countries have some special circumstances that prevent them from taking real action right now. Let’s hope that the second week of the UN meetings prove that government leaders know that the World is Watching and that is it time to GET SERIOUS.