Durban climate deal – license to pollute
The Durban climate agreement created brouhaha over a breakthrough in climate negotiations but it has failed the environment. The deal, if fructifies in 2020, could lead to four degree rise in global temperature by turn of the country, scientists have warned.
The 195 nations in the port city of Durban agreed to a “vague” document called Durban Platform for Enhanced Action which aims to having a climate treaty by 2015, to be ratified by all nations by 2020 and to be operational thereafter. Negotiators and ministers burnt mid-night oil to create this “vagueness”.
Nowhere the document mentions even the broad contours of the proposed treaty and has left too much for individual countries to interpret. It starts with a bang saying all countries need to accelerate the reduction in green house gas emissions and ends with a damp squib asking countries to increase ambition to fight climate change. Durban agreement said there would be a new ad-hoc working group to thresh out the deal.
As a result, India has said that new treaty would not mean binding emission cuts whereas European Union says major economies like India and China will have to reduce emissions. United States interpretation is a step ahead with its climate envoy Todd Stern saying the treaty will result in “parity in emission reductions” for big polluters, read China and India.
To me, least developed and island nations are not bothered about the framework of the proposed treaty and want to share maximum from the US $ 100 bn dollars green fund, agreed in Durban. They insisted on legally binding treaty for all in Durban as European Union had apparently put a condition that money will not come unless all countries agree to emission cuts. They, including our neighbour Bangladesh, played to the European gallery.
Durban Platform has created more confusion than clarity and has tried to give what everyone wanted — more time for fund strapped rich nations and emerging economies and money for most vulnerable island and least developed nations.
What should worry climatologists is that Durban failed to seek commitment from developed world to raise ambition to fight climate change even though the science has been telling us that threat is more real than ever with increase in extreme weather events as reported by recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
In fact, most countries have lowered their ambition. European Union had promised to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent by 2020 to 2005 levels but refused to increase the commitment to 40 %. Another big emitter United States has been dilly dallying on emission reductions since Copenhagen climate summit in 2009. As per Kyoto Protocol, world’s only climate treaty, India and China are not required to reduce emissions. Russia, Japan and Canada have decided moved out of Kyoto.
In wake of this, Durban claim to fame that it delivered a second commitment period for Kyoto Protocol (2013-2017), is a hollow promise.
The protocol will now only 20 % of the global emissions after Canada announced it will not join the second commitment period. Even if EU meets its Kyoto target for 2020, the global carbon emissions will rise and most of the atmospheric space will be packed with CO2 by 2020, when the new treaty would be coming into force.
I fail to understand how the ill-effect of climate change would be reversed, if one considered that in 2020 emission cuts would be must for everyone. For the next decade, Durban has just given an unbridled licence to pollute. In the coming year we will witness negotiators fighting over a coma or a full-stop or usage of a particular word such as could or should, while the world will witness harsh ramifications of climate change.
That is what Durban has given to ‘SAVE THE PLANET’ call.