Lima’s COP20 talks have ended today (Sunday) with only Paris now left to achieve full and helpful commitments towards controlling emissions. The two extremes among the arguers are the so-called rich and the so-called poor. But what about those who class themselves as neither? All of them are now required to reduce emissions, according to the new agreement.
It is probably the great middle-group of nations that hold the various keys to unlock the problems we have. Deadlock in these COP (Community of Parties) meetings has been the norm. One of the keys is in the
green climate fund. It may soon have another name, but an initial target of $15billion has so far not been achieved. It will be paid over many years, which means the actual commitment from contributors is quite low. Industrialised countries (which should include quite a few nations by now) were originally held to climate financing programme of a gigantic $100 billion, to be somehow paid out by 2020. Of course, as 2020 approaches, the amount required to fulfil this amount becomes higher and higher. However the wealthy countries have a responsibility, now that everybody has to cut. They have to help with
loss and damage programmes for small island states and others threatened with current rises in sea level and many other climate changes.
The interesting situation lies in the politicking of developed countries, to which we have become adjusted, opposed by similar politicking on behalf of poorer countries who believe they can persuade nations to contribute to their climate difficulties. The norm is for the situation to mature until it’s too late, when panic sets in and some agreement has to be produced for the press or the recipients of any largesse. Maybe that is where we are right now, but it is so difficult to tell. We have to consider politics as an essential ingredient in the disposal of the actual funds too. Cruelly, local politicians have lined their pockets in many countries, not only in developing nations, but in almost every situation, wherever there is reduced power for the people who really count - the working population.
One difficulty lies in the great pollution caused by primitive carbon-emitting industry. China, India and Brazil have yet to agree to a formal pledge to cut emissions that are far higher than other countries. Responsibility is a term bandied about, but the past is all about pollution, and we cannot go back. If such conditions are ongoing, people need help and advice on how to stop using fossil fuels. The countries involved include European nations, the US and many other “rich” countries, as well as those who have been given little choice in the past. Industrialisation is not a curse, but it has brought disaster for our climate.
The Peruvian problem of refusing responsibility will continue now into Paris 2015. Some have got what they wanted, partly because the US, China and the EU promised cuts in emission after 2020. Others have had cuts in what they expected for mitigation of the effects of climate change. Will we get anywhere near the 2oC. limit for warming? The sad truth is we have already done enough to ensure that limit will be broken. We will be lucky to avoid a 4oC. rise, as the ocean is holding on to a heat-store from the last few decades of pollution.
What will really happen? Will this meeting result in a
Climate Call or yet more climate change? The politicians and the scientists need to communicate much more, and that money for the
green climate fund has to keep the 200+ nations on board for the climate ride of several lifetimes. That’s how long this pantomime is going to run. Don’t watch- it is like a horror movie, but very very real.