Sleepwalking to disaster at Bonn Climate talks
Stephanie Tunmore in Bonn writes:
You know those nights when you wake up in a cold sweat because you dreamt you were out in public in your pyjamas? Well for some Greenpeace volunteers and staff the nightmare became reality at the Bonn climate talks this week. Determined to give governments here a wake up call about the rate and extent of climate change to try and shake them out of their inertia, we strode out into the sunlight dressed in our nightclothes, lugging a giant replica alarm clock accompanied by a bugler playing ‘Reveille’
We decided to kiss goodbye to the last shreds of our dignity to highlight the real nightmare unfolding in the Hotel Maritim, venue for the latest round of climate negotiations.
Here’s the thing. Sixteen years ago in Rio, the world agreed to do something to try and avoid dangerous climate change. Since then global emissions have increased by 25% and concentrations are growing by about 2ppm a year. Wrong direction people!!!
There’s no doubt climate change is here and there is also no doubt that we are heading for disaster unless we put the brakes on but some of these negotiators seem to be asleep at the wheel. Instead of moving things forward (let’s face it, there 18 months left to agree a deal) a whole bunch of ‘déjà vu’ issues have been dumped on the table. These are loopholes that would drive a coach and horses through the environmental integrity of the Treaty. We fought fiercely (and successfully) to keep them out of the original Kyoto deal but some governments are now trying to take advantage of what they see as a new opportunity to have their cake and eat it.
We have already shown that nuclear power is neither safe nor sustainable, that you can’t store carbon in forests for millennia, and that no, it is not OK to overshoot emissions targets now and worry about making up the difference some time in the future. Yet…..here they come again.
To be fair a lot of developing country governments have been quite constructive this week, putting some interesting proposals on the table that suggest how funds for adapting to climate change and providing clean energy to developing countries might be raised and managed. Unfortunately the usual suspects - Canada Japan, Australia, USA, Saudi Arabia – continue to be obstructive and divisive. There isn’t time for this.
Which explains why some of us brought bad dreams to life by parading about in our jim-jams today.