The website of the 17th round of world climate talks boasts that the world leaders will be ‘ working together, saving tomorrow today,’ the reality is once again rich nations refusing to take responsibility and action on carbon emissions, condemning the world to irreversible climate change and a more than 2 degree temperature rise.
As the climate talks got underway in Durban this week, activists from across Africa and the world began to descend on the coastal city. Inside the conference the talks were already of to a gloomy start with most of the world’s rich nations attempting to delay any kind of binding treaty to slow down greenhouse gas emissions. With the exception of the EU who have taken a surprisingly strong stance- demanding that negotiations on a new legal agreement begin next year, conclude in 2015, and to enter into force as early as possible thereafter. The US, Canada, Russia, Japan, China and India are all pushing to delay the implementation of any legally binding treaty. The delayers, as they are now called argue that now is not the time to start a new set of negotiations, they point out that countries have only just started to implement their own domestic emissions reduction plans. Critics say that the delayers group is just covering up for the fact that they do not want to commit to a new legal agreement at all.
Outside the conference the buzzword of the moment is Occupy, following from the worldwide movement. Occupy COP17 is well underway with activists from across the globe taking part in meetings, actions and workshops.. Former Costa Rican President José María Figueres is calling for people to Occupy Durban saying
“We went to Copenhagen [in 2009] with the illusion we could reach an equitable agreement. We went to Cancún [in 2010] where we saw slight but not sufficient progress. Frustration is now deep and building. Now we hear that we will need more conferences. Sometime we have to get serious. We should be going to Durban with the firm conviction that we do not come back until we have made substantial advances.”
There have even been rumours that people are planning to occupy meetings rooms inside the talks, reminiscent of Copenhagen in 2009 when delegates from the ALBA group of countries and Alliance of Small Island States walked out of the Bella Conference Centre. The role of civil society to put pressure on governments to take urgent action on climate change is ever more pressing. On Saturday 3rd of December will see a global day of action from groups across the world calling for urgent action on climate change. In London, UK there is a climate change demonstration being held and a rally outside parliament, speakers from CAT’s zero carbon britain project will be talking at the Bank of Ideas tonight at 5pm.