All’s Quiet on the COP16 Front
Monday, 6 December 2010
Noticeably absent from this year’s UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) in Cancun, Mexico, is a sense of urgency and belief that much will get accomplished. While the usual actors of delegates, media and NGOs from around the world are here, there are fewer of all three roaming the conference centers. I hear no talk of a grand coalition compromise of the largest emitters–with or without the US on board–and the island and developing countries seem lacking in their exhortations to the rest of the world. Mostly, it is very quiet here. (Part of me wonders if our call a couple weeks ago for the US to stay home was heeded but without, as of yet, the second part of our call—that the rest of the world should stand up and cut a deal.) We knew attendance would be lower and, after the US elections and failure of Congress to pass energy and climate legislation this year, that the US role would be limited, decreasing the prospects of a grand agreement. But I have to wonder, where is the basic framework from Copenhagen? Last year, the agreement sitting on the table had the US reducing emissions by 17% by 2020, the EU another 25% and China reducing its carbon intensity by 45%. Canada was in, as were dozens of other countries, with real reductions or changes. That deal was there to be had when a hundred heads of state bombarded the place. Today, the Copenhagen (remember when it was renamed ‘Hopenhagen’?) agreement is nowhere to be seen and there is no talk of any leaders dropping in. A huge change. The overriding message from the last year is that governments simply will not provide the leadership we need to solve climate change. And it’s not just the US. The EU, Japan, China, India, Australia, Brazil and a hundred others have what they need to create a global pact to reduce emissions. China, India, Brazil and Indonesia, along with most of the hundred or developing countries stand to gain investment, jobs, development and technology transfer through a global cap and trade deal; the EU, Japan, Canada, Australia and many others gain efficiency, increase their competitiveness, reduce their reliance on imported energy, improve national security, clean the air and reduce health costs–all at much lower cost than going it alone. The deal is there. Is it complicated? Sure. So what? If they won’t lead, we must! Fair or not, the ball is back in our court to solve climate change, to get wind to cost less than coal and make efficient technologies a better deal than inefficient technologies. When you go carbon neutral with Carbonfund.org that is exactly what you are supporting. Over the next week at COP and months ahead, Carbonfund.org will be laying out the business and individual case for how to solve climate change, with or without government leadership. We are determined to make 2011 a monumental year in this fight. Stay tuned.