Coming of Age? – The United Nations UNFCC COP19

In Warsaw, Poland the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC ) COP19 just wrapped up this past week end and in the extended final hours there was  action on much needed global climate policy. Here is a summary from the COP 19 U.N. website, the U.N.s’ point of view, including other U.N. COP 19 document resources, and the closing press release, excerpt:

“The Warsaw Climate Change Conference 2013 concluded successfully! Key decisions adopted at this conference include decisions on further advancing the Durban Platform, the Green Climate Fund and Long-Term Finance, the Warsaw Framework for REDD Plus, the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage and other decisions”

COP 19’s success depends on ones perspective. Many of us feel these baby steps seem too little, too late – especially in the face of another significant catastrophe like, Haiyan. As usual there was considerable tension at  the UNFCC conference, this year it was palpable with the Philippines chief negotiator, Yeb Sano’s, very enrolling heartfelt opening remarks, with a call to the United Nations for action on climate change now. Activism through the global community took root on Tuesday afternoon when Sano delivered a 590,000+ person campaign organized by Avaaz calling for climate action directly at these negotiations in Warsaw. The Polish Governments’ disturbingly comical choice to allow a World Coal Summit to happen simultaneously augmented the tensions of COP19. Midway through the conference NGO’s and Civil Society walked out – representing the voice of the people, and then continued to protest, “Stop Climate Madness”.  World Team Now is part of the TckTckTck a campaign named after the sound of the clock.  The 400 member campaign on Climate Action is a start for “teaming-up” as the timing is critical. How much this tension actually helps during the conference is debatable.

There seems to be a decrease of international press attendance at these United Nations COP conferences, to reach out to masses of people, at least by certain “Developed” country’s media to get the big news outlets to send reporters, to cover or at least write original content and not just rely on the associated press’s coverage.  The live feed from the UNFCCC has made it easier for all of us to at least follow the conference virtually.  Here are some of the articles to give you a more rounded perspective on COP19, from sources worth considering:

 

Left out of the U.N. statement is the internal tensions between  those who have resources, and those who do not.  The side action prevalent at the U.N. COPs continues to be protests growing, not just driven by the dissatisfaction of the slow pace of the talks, but truly based on the urgency we as a world face with climate change, and our ability to act:

  • Work plan for Paris 2015:  Nations reached a compromise on a new work plan to  get ready for the Paris Summit in 2015. A number of countries, including the US and EU, had been calling for a clearly defined timetable through to 2015 that would see countries make clear climate change “commitments” by a deadline of early 2015. However, China led a push back by a group of developing nations, arguing for more flexibility for poorer nations – a move that drew an angry response from the US who accused China of rolling back a previous agreement to ensure all nations make some form of commitments through the 2015 treaty. “I feel like I am going into a time warp. That is folly,” US lead negotiator Todd Stern was quoted as saying by Reuters.
  • Rich and poor tensions: The summit once again saw tensions between developed and developing nations laid bare, with poorer countries responding angrily to moves by Japan, Australia and Canada to water down previous climate commitments. There was also frustration at US opposition to the loss and damage mechanism and the failure of industrialized nations to make fresh emission reduction and climate financing commitments.
  • Not Enough Done: Green groups condemned the final agreement for failing to make sufficient progress towards an ambitious new climate treaty in Paris in 2015. There was a walkout or about 800 people Thursday 21 November included people from organizations including Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam, 350.org, Friends of the Earth, the Confederation and ActionAid.

This political process with the UNFCCC will continue, with annual conferences and with key mile stones intending to be met.  COP19 had a “Cha, Cha” going on with two steps back and one forward.

It brings to question whether the action needed for our species to be more in balance with our planet can come through the organization of this process within the United Nations conferences.  The challenge of this governmental process and its bureaucratic structure may not be aligned to reflect the truth that serves all people.

Humanity has the gift of choice and to use wisdom taught though nature, and respect the science pointing to the fact it is important to understand the consequence of how anthropocentric gasses affect climate change.  If there is still not enough evidence based on witnessing these super storms, consider reading the leaked IPCC report (story here, report here), with alarming scientific facts about the state of our planet. Yeb Sano put a face on Climate Change, and may our world better understand the responsibility of humanity and use wisdom.

We are grateful there was global policy approved at COP19, and are eager for more actions to be taken, and disheartened at the present time, that our primary international structure uniting nations cannot do more. We hope the UNFCCC can ultimately be a path towards global transformation reflected in active international policy perhaps “coming of age” by COP21?

It is a challenge to trust this process and where we are in our world at this time.  May we be able to see clearly by 2020, and ideally much before.

© World Team Now (WTN) 2013. All rights reserved.

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