PARIS CLIMATE TALKS (COP21) & THE ISSUE OF EQUITY
At the Paris Climate talks, or COP 21 (Conference of Parties on Climate Change), currently the negotiations are difficult. . .
The United States and Australia are demanding that poorer nations accurately disclose their current and future emissions.
President Obama said in his Paris speech, “let’s agree to a strong system of transparency that gives each of us the confidence that all of us are meeting our commitments. And let’s make sure that the countries who don’t yet have the full capacity to report on their targets receive the support that they need.”
On the surface this seems like a reasonable request.
South African ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko chairs the G77 bloc of 134 mostly poor nations. She objected, saying that this “narrative” on transparency cast poor countries as “villains.”
I’m with her on this. People in poorer countries are often overwhelmed to simply provide fresh water, adequate nutrition, and basic medicines, let alone accurately measure their greenhouse gas emissions.
Canada’s Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May, is currently part of the official Canadian delegation at the climate talks. In this excerpt from a CBC interview today, she explains the crux of the problem:
“China and India (and the G77) are rightly angered by the fact the industrialized world really created the climate crises over a period of time from the industrial revolution until about 10 years ago.
There is no question that the historical emissions that are presently in the atmosphere, they are not history, they are still active in causing extreme weather events. The bulk of that was caused by industrialized countries. Now we’re saying, “what a minute – China is a bigger polluter than the United States so you have to bear the same burden as the United States.”
There is an issue of equity here, and it is a very tough one for the developing countries, even the big polluting developing countries, to accept the idea to turn the page and say they are just as responsible as we are. In real terms, in real scientific terms, they are not as responsible! And the industrial world, including Canada, should be prepared to do more, and reduce our emissions more, and lead the way in the newer and greener technologies.
Financing is part of that too because it was the industrialized world, led by the United States in Copenhagen, that said were going put forward a hundred billion dollars per year by 2020 and it’s going to be there for you developing countries… (to provide) climate financing.
And this is also a sticking point because these (poorer) nations are saying, “will that money be there and how will it be administered?”
I have learned about many solutions, including 2 decades of micro-credit and small solar businesses that continue to provide increasing employment and enabled the rural poor to work or study in the evenings via 100’s of thousands of installed 50 watt solar electric light systems that displace expensive and dangerous kerosene lanterns. Money is saved for food and green house gas emissions are reduced. Large agencies said it wouldn’t work. Yet these installations continue to grow at an exponential rate.
As another solution, my next post will explain how Carbon Pricing is an economic tool towards reducing the worlds Green House Gas Emissions, and how this works in British Columbia with our Carbon Tax Shift.
I apologize for my low profile in recent months, due to numerous other commitments. It’s good to be back, though be forewarned – my future posting will come and go.
For COP 21 in Paris, all the best towards a positive result for all the parties – that’s all of us. In these difficult and complex negotiations towards climate justice, may this be one positive step forward.
Peace & solidarity – Bruce