COP 17/ CMP 7: Another Talk-Shop, Green-Washing or Radical Action?

By Michelle Simon - 24 Nov 2011 7:35:0 GMT
COP 17/ CMP 7: Another Talk-Shop, Green-Washing or Radical Action?

COP17/CMP7 Logo; Credit: The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol

On the eve of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) and the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 7) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs hosted a pre-COP 17 Summit on the 22nd November 2011. As the Head of the SA delegation, Edna Molewa is responsible for leading SA in pursuing the country's interest in COP 17/ CMP 7 negotiations. SA's being the mascot for the continent, is carrying the hopes of Africa for a Future Climate Regime (Molewa, 2011).

"South Africa is carrying the hopes and aspirations of Africa and the developing world to succeed in keeping the Kyoto Protocol as part of future climate regime, as we negotiate an outcome of the negotiations under the conventions. A global response presents an opportunity for Africa to further its sustainable development objectives," said Molewa.

Various provincial departments of government participated addressing key areas that will be on the Summit agenda include; the National Climate Change Response White Paper, the SA Negotiating Position and the Climate Change Response EXPO.

SA's stance will have an impact on the footing of all developing countries in asserting climate justice. Whilst Durban, the host city and the SA government have gone to great lengths advertise the civil society component of COP17/CMP7, that is, an outside sectoral event and geographical location (venue in Durban). Environmental justice movements have been chanting the mantra of environmental destruction from air, to soil, to water, to humans and all life-forms, for more than half-a-century (in the 1950s local civics structure in Merebank, South Durban, South Africa, embarked on protest action against the apartheid regime for environmental, political and social injustices) and no-one listened and heeded the call. South Durban is still steeped in environmental pollution (toxic air emissions) and injustices based on continued inequities. South Durban Toxic zone does not feature on any of the tours but the city's prime 'green projects' do.

Indeed, the talks do not include the most affected but the governments representing the people. Let us hope they deliver on the most radical calls by civil society that are not intended to halt development but promote the cleanest possible technologies that address all round economic growth, human development and environmental protection.

While I'm so impressed with the level at which society has followed the climate change issues and awoken to the environmental issues, I see literature, marketing campaigns, green-washing, green-business all over the place, it's become fashionable. And while I'm nervous about this 'fashion-trend' as it is not based on organic conscience development and lasting conviction; I will be satisfied if every citizen especially those with large carbon footprints and overall ecological footprints act daily,. At that level of measurement even if only enacted through enforcement; conscience or no-conscience, the results make a difference.

I must admit the SA slogan is catchy: "Working Together, Saving Tomorrow Today!"

Video Link for Pre-COP 17 SA Summit:

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