As we were having our first youth meeting I looked outside to the beautiful sunny, green garden with a fountain. Who else do I see but three of our Indian negotiators. How is this possible? Indian bureaucrats are often quite hard to access or catch – but I guess I’m not in India. I’m writing from Bonn at the interim UN meetings on climate. It is not uncommon at these negotiations to come across negotiating teams and bureaucrats having lunch, in corridors, walking in and out of meetings, and it’s not uncommon to exchange smiles, say hello and slap high fives (well almost).
So what are these Negotiations about?
Some say climate change, some say trade, some say geo-politics. Officially it’s about emissions mitigation targets, financing, technology transfer, adaptation and forest protection. But what is it really about? For me as a young person, I would say it’s about equity. Both global south equity and inter-generational equity. The developed countries are pushing to maintain their lifestyles and are resisting change, whilst the developing countries fighting for their survival (and the emerging economies neither completely here nor there, creating a group of their own).
It is a tight political environment. Canada is coming out with ludicrous ideas such as “decide your own target” or 3% emissions reductions by 2020 on 1990 levels. US is trying to pass through its first climate bill through congress – called the Waxman Markey bill that is being watered down day by day. Japan will be coming out with its 2020 targets over the next 2 weeks, eating out of the palm of its industries. Australia is debating it’s Emissions Trading Scheme with the government committing to 5% reductions by 2020, falling back to being puppets of the fossil fuel lobby. Doesn’t the future look bright?! People have said this is when it gets interesting. The major economies, especially the developed countries are trying to suck as much out of the other countries and are trying to get themselves the cheapest bargain possible. All the while the least developed countries and island nations are still pushing for their survival of a 350ppm target and 45% reductions by 2020 – what stark contrasts. Some believe that the negotiations may break down (some hope that they will). Let’s see what happens.
We are living in interesting times!
Deepa (Indian tracker)