Our first conference on Monday afternoon was about the developing countries’ expectations from this 19th COP, represented by 4 spokespersons. One of them came from the recently terribly affected Philippines.
The latest “super typhoon Haiyan”, which hit more than 10 million people in Southeast Asia, and according to the latest figures displaced more than 600.000 people (turning once more the most vulnerable people into “climate refugees”), set the tone of the meeting. Naderev ‘Yeb’ Sano, the spokesperson from the Philippines, was very moved by this catastrophe. He vowed to fast throughout the COP, both as a sign of protest against the (unfair) situation of the global climate and as a sign of solidarity towards his people (and own family). He said he will “voluntarily refrain from eating food during this (conference) until a meaningful outcome is in sight.” How many more of these climate-related disasters do we need, before we decide to take serious action?
He would be supported and (partially) joined in his action by some courageous (young) observers. The next day, the Filipino-delegate at the 2nd meeting about the “Loss and Damage” literally choked up and through sobbing tried to express how sincerely she thought a much-needed and effective mechanism should be established this year, building on the blocks agreed in Doha last year (Decision 3/CP18).
With the national football stadium into a climate temple converted behind us, we spoke about this emotional moment with other observers. Some were a bit skeptical about the sincerity of the outcry, remembering it to be a strong tool for the negotiations, or stressed the different cultural background, accepting crying in public. Anyways, it’s a matter of equity and global justice to share the burden of the consequences of climate change, like natural disasters which every year are increasing in intensity and severity.
The “sincere condolences” to the victims of this extreme natural event expressed throughout the meetings by countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia and Poland, to name just a few of the biggest polluters most responsible for climate change, were not really appropriate in a way. Instead of this hypocritical rhetoric, they should rather commit to ambitious and binding commitments. Only real solutions count to address climate change.
Another interesting meeting concerned the “Big Business capture” of the COP, or with other words the excessive corporate power in climate negations. This is especially the case at this COP 19 in Warsaw, which can be illustrated with a funny anecdote: when we were desperately scavenging for (free) food and finally found our haven with couches to crash in, it appeared to be sponsored by “Emirates airlines – for your comfort”, indeed.
(A more extensive article about this issue will be posted in Dutch on Dewereldmorgen.be)
The big companies were eager to set old Carbon market mechanisms on the agenda, such as the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM’s) and the REDD+ programmes.
For almost twenty years, multilateral climate policies have served to create profitable financial schemes that maintain fossil fuel dependent systems that are responsible for the climate crisis. This 19th COP will be no exception, on the contrary it seems.
The EU’s agenda for the COP 19 will be both to scale-up carbon trade mechanisms and find other ways of sustaining an industrial and financial system dependent on coal, oil and gas. Apparently, lobby groups have done their job to safeguard the vested private interests, because a framework of various approaches was introduced amongst others by the EU, “as trojan horses for global carbon carbon market mechanisms”. These new market mechanism supporters, are in fact CDM-style carbon mechanisms, while this carbon trade without caps proved to be a disaster (there was hardly any funding for Africa and many human rights violations were observed). These existing mechanisms provided three times more supply than demand for carbon credits!
On Wednesday, Youngo (the Youth platform at the COP) will organize a funny action about this, on which some of us will participate!
To be Continued…