Ministers rise above politics to save climate at Durban
Two unrelated reports have indicated that world is heading for climate disasters if countries fail to shun their parochial outlook at Durban climate conference and join hands for welfare of mankind.
An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on Friday said extreme weather events had increased since 1950, particularly daily temperature extreme and heat waves. It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation will increase and intensity of cyclones would be more.
This is a scenario presented by IPCC considering the view that the temperature may increase by two to four degree Celsius by end of the 21th century. But, the present pace of global warming causing emission growth will result in increase in temperature by six degree Celsius by turn of the century, a recent International Energy Agency (IEA) said.
If one juxtaposes IPCC findings with what the IEA is saying on basis of the latest carbon emission assessments, there can be only one prediction — doom. Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan rightly summed what ails global climate talks — “competitive politics” — but no one is willing to take initiative to break the deadlock.
Reason is simple, the domestic politician implications and no one can understand it better than former environment minister Jairam Ramesh, who had to face brickbats from opposition and within his own party for being “too flexible”.
With Ramesh out, Natarajan has stuck to old rigid Indian stand — no give away, which has been ridiculed by the European media, who believed Ramesh was a ray of climate hope.
The rich nations are also not in a position agree to demands of the developing world on fast track finance of US $ 30 billion by 2013 and patent free transfer of clean technologies. “We don’t have any money to spare this year,” was the candid admission of European Union’s energy commissioner Philip Owe this week.
The usual United States-China pat over emission cuts is likely to continue at Durban with both sticking to their stand like a firm adhesive. US want China to reduce emissions but the latter is not willing saying that the US has failed to put any commitment on the table.
In this scenario, not much is expected from Durban. The host South Africa is looking for a face saver and if Durban delivers penny less Green Climate Fund, it will be an achievement.
Not for environmentalists as another year has been wasted in just talks and carbon emissions are rising again. The 2010 – warmest year in the decade — saw one percent increase in carbon emissions after a slowing down for three years.
Both IPCC and IEA reports present enough evidence for politicians to act against devastating impact of climate change. May not be for egalitarian concerns for mankind but, surely for their own citizens. Over 95 % deaths because of disasters have taken place in the developing world, the IPCC report says. Politicians should listen to climate science and experts like they did in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.