Thursday, 10 December 2009

Tuvalu attack at COP15

CI Head of Delegation at COP15, Rasmus Kjeldahl continues his regular updates from inside the Copenhagen climate negotiations.

Consumer impact is just one of the many critical issues being discussed at Copenhagen. For some, like the residents of Tuvalu, climate change is an matter of immediate survival.

Tuvalu, a small island nation threatened to be inundated by the Pacific Ocean, became today’s subject of conversation and campaigning at COP15. At the forenoon plenary session Tuvalu called on a higher level of ambition: they demanded a deal limiting the maximum global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Many delegations from the South supported this demand and demanded that a new group was set up immediately with a view to drawing up a deal on this basis. This will require immediate and more extensive reductions in carbon emissions than have been agreed so far.

Tuvalu renders visible how serious the situation already is in many places in the world, but knowing how difficult it will be to reach agreement on a deal that keeps warming below 2 degrees, I’m afraid there is reason to be somewhat pessimistic about the future of Tuvalu. Sympathy is not sufficient to reach a result – there is also a need for money. A lot of money if the developing countries can have it their own way, less money according to the rich world. And there is a need for real GHG emissions reductions.

The matter of money was also the focus of several meetings today. Many people are concerned that the funding of climate measures will be taken from the aid to developing countries and that as a result we will just see a new internal distribution among them. So instead of investments in education and economic development funding will be redirected into the building of seawalls and wind power.

Among other slightly surprising subjects of debate was an argument between the Chinese delegation and the secretariat. The bone of contention was partly that a Chinese minister had been stopped twice by the security guards who had confiscated his badge (which threatened to provoke a minor diplomatic crisis), and partly dissatisfaction with the conference logo which according to the Chinese (and other delegations) signaled that the Kyoto Protocol was not important anymore. 
The conference fatigue starts to be visible in the faces of the delegates. The same food every day, a lot of coffee and the lack of fresh air can be felt. Physical endurance will be a critical factor to gaining influence for the next nine days…

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