Experiences of International climate negotiations

Another update from Luke – the official ‘youngest person at the COP16 conference’ – love seeing it all through his eyes…

Hi Guys!

This conference has been an eye-opening experience for me recently as to where real climate change adaptation is likely to take place, and by far the most opportunity lies at grassroots community level, which makes what we’re doing seem all the more important. At the international level is seems unlikely anyone will enter a second commitment period under Kyoto unless the developed countries (primarily the US) take the lead. The US wants to see ‘voluntary commitments’ and measuring of success by ‘how well we meet thoseĀ  commitments instead of measuring actual reductions’ which is ludicrous and would see developed countries make pledges of around 4-8% rather than the 40-80% needed in a second commitment period to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees! even if they could, the negotiators have said “we could never agree to how much should be pledged by nations in an adaptation fund” which is what the global public sees as a success in Cancun.

I asked the panel “Do you believe that we can properly address the issue of climate change using market mechanisms? (that is the carbon trading proposed under LULUCF and REDD+) given the current state of a global economy based on exponential growth on a finite planet?”. Their answer was a straightforward, honest and said one with out even any hesitation, as if a great burden was being released off their (the negotiations) shoulders.

“No”. “It never has done, it is not working now, and it never will work in future”.

And then, while I was still in a state of utter disbelief that they would have the decency to say that, a second panelist stated “The road to hell is often paved with good intentions”! It made for a very heated discussion! (while the cameras started to click away…). They ended the session on a positive note by literally saying that “Our best chance is in resilient community action”. I should trust my intuition more often. The same plenary panel has decided right there and then to continue the discussion in an open press briefing with media from across the world present tonight at 6pm (1pm today NZ time), and I intend to ask the same question, while introducing myself as the ‘youngest person at this conference’ which I found out I am! Hopefully the panel will be just as honest in front of global media.

We, as part of the Youth zero carbon strategies working group are planning some very important actions. We are firstly writing and handing out a ‘real’ agenda at the conference highlighting what really should be on the table in terms of UNFCCC workings. Then we are proposing an action right outside the Azteca Plenary hall at the Moon Palace with a guy in a business suit with UNFCCC written on it standing at a tap, with a sign saying ‘SUPPLY’ and then a hose to a swimming pool of large container where there is a youth member holding the end of the running hose with a sign next to him/her saying “DEMAND”. In the role play the youth asks the unfccc to “turn off the tap” but the unfccc refuses to do so, and instead asks the youth to stop it (ie; try to control demand). After trying 101 ways including water balloons and sellotape and countless others it is given up and the container overflows. Visually communicating that the only way to limit GHG’s in the atmosphere is to control supply rather than demand. This group is being led by a friend of mine named Kjell, who I joke about as being a ‘universal translator’ because he speaks 8 languages, fluently!

So keepin it brief… I gtg. But i have also left my contact details with the UNESCO reps here in Cancun. :p