As the COP17 conference in Durban winds to a close today, we’re still left without a major global agreement on how to reduce emissions and stall global climate change. The focus today has been on a proposed “roadmap” for future discussions on emissions reductions drawn up by the European Union that is vague enough that there are hopes it could be signed by many of the delegates in attendance in Durban. Even then, the United States, China and India are saying that this so-called “roadmap” goes against their personal demands.
The roadmap, which the Guardian managed to take a look at calls for the delegates to “launch a process in order to develop a legal framework applicable to all.” It does not call for a legally binding treaty, which many nations across the world — and most scientists — say is the only way to stem the global catastrophe that could occur if the Earth warms more than 2 degrees Celsius. The U.S., China and India have all said that they are willing to start new emissions reductions after the year 2020 while the E.U., island states and the least developed countries are saying that in 2020 it will be too late and cost too much to start the great task of reigning in our over-reliance on burning fossil fuels.
As we’ve reported, the International Energy Agency and the researchers behind the Climate Action Tracker have noted that irreversible climate change will occur in just five years and the Earth could warm by a total of 3.6 degrees Celcius by 2100 if we do not start reducing emissions now. Progress is also still stalled on how to fund, deliver and monitor the proposed $100 billion a year Green Climate Fund that could help developing nations curb their own emissions with the financial and technological help of developed nations. Though a deal has not been reached many are hopeful that at least the Green Climate Fund will emerge today as a finalized proposal.
“It’s an area actually which is among the most advanced in the negotiations, I don’t have any reason to think that that’s not going to conclude,” said chief U.S. delegate at the conference, Todd Stern in a rare positive statement to the press.
As for a legally binding treaty — the original hope for the talks — all hope was thrown out the window days ago and the prospects of a treaty being drawn up at some future conference are presently not looking great. For now we’ll have to wait for day’s end in Durban for news about the E.U,’s “roadmap” and the signature’s they’ve won. At this point many activists are raising their hopes that delegates will return to their individual countries and push singular legislation like the one just passed in California. We sure hoped that the so called climate change leaders could come up with a better outcome than a “roadmap” for this crises that could soon unravel our civilization.