Nov 30 2011
The 17th Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is in its third day in Durban, South Africa, with 15,000 delegates from over 190 countries at the negotiating table. Yesterday the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization announced the 10 hottest years on record have occurred in the past 15 years. This year extreme weather has beset all areas of the globe, with floods and mass starvation due to drought leaving tens of thousands dead and many more displaced. The US was hit by a record number of tornadoes, harsh blizzards, killer heat waves and weeks-long forest fires. 2011 is currently on track to tie for the 10th hottest year, adding pressure on the international community to take action before an global rise in temperature reaches 2 degrees Celsius. According to the LA Times scientists have warned that if the average global temperature tops 2 degrees “mass extinctions and other catastrophic events” will follow. This week climate negotiators have so far been unable to resolve the same thorny issues that previous talks have been plagued by. A major point of contention is how to fund an independent fund of money designated to combat global warming. Another sticking point is whether the Kyoto Protocol will be adopted for a second term. The EU has already committed to signing again, urging the US and China to join after they refused during its first term. The US remains noncommittal but reportedly wants to see China on-board. China and the G77 nations are reportedly refusing to agree to anything without equal commitment from developed nations. The Kyoto treaty, the only international treaty to include legally-binding provisions on carbon reduction, is set to expire in 2012.
GUEST: Janet Redmon, Co-director of the Sustainable Energy & Economy Network at the Institute for Policy Studies