Archive by Author

A STEP: Copenhagen Accord

20 Dec

The Copenhagen Accord:

http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/cop_15/application/pdf/cop15_cph_auv.pdf

After a long and confusing Friday night, and outrage expressed from developing nations who were shut out of the draft consultation, Philip Weech, Director of the Bahamas Environment, Science, and Technology Commission (who had succeeded Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and Danish Climate and Energy Minister Connie Hedegaard) as COP15 President, secured consensus by calling a vote to “take note” of the accord, rather than approve it.

Emissions reductions announcements to be made by 31 January.

Here are a few resources that emphasize the issues of the Copenhagen Accord:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/19/science/earth/19climate.html?_r=1&hp

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8422133.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8422307.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8422186.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8421910.stm


Advertisements

“Prostitutes raise temperatures” at COP15

18 Dec

Prior to the grand opening of COP15 and the Climate Summit for Mayors, hundreds of hotels, delegates and journalists received a letter from the Copenhagen’s mayor, along with a stack of postcards proclaiming, “Be sustainable: Don’t buy sex!”

The postcards were part of a campaign launched by the City Council urging the international delegates and press to refrain from buying sex during their stay in Copenhagen.

BUT the postcards caused a prompt reaction from a sex worker organization (SIO), recommending its members offer free sex to delegates who are able to show their accreditation and a copy of the postcard.

City Council member Margrethe Wivel, however, believes that it is imperative Copenhagen takes a clear stand against prostitution, even though it is legal (since 1999): “The only reason it is legal is that you do not want to turn socially marginalized women into criminals. To be frank, we have modern slavery in the streets of Copenhagen. Consequently, we need to decrease the demand for sexual services and explode the myth of the happy whore. Life as a prostitute is rough and we have to make that very clear to potential clients. That is why we have made the postcards. Finally, it is worth noting that SIO only represents 79 prostitutes i.e. SIO only speaks on behalf of approximately one percent of the prostitutes in Denmark. And as far as I know, only five of their members are actually willing to offer free sex in return for a postcard.”

Ironically, one of the “hotels” that received a batch of postcards from the mayor’s office was Studio Freya, which is reportedly a brothel!

The Nest International (http://redeninternational.dk/?pid=105) is an organization which fights against women trafficking. Sorry, no equivalent site in English available.

Other sources:

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2009/1209/1224260356468.html

http://cphpost.dk/component/content/47683.html?task=view

http://www.businessinsider.com/prostitutes-in-copenhagen-offer-free-sex-for-summit-guests-2009-12?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+greensheet+%28Green+Sheet%29

Prior to the grand opening of COP15 and the Climate Summit for Mayor

7 Sins of Greenwashing

15 Dec

With the rise of the global environmental movement, citizens (=consumers) need to be responsible consumers. The seven sins of greenwashing, developed by TerraChoice has the purpose of “maintaining the pressure for truth and clarity in environmental marketing”.

Green-wash (verb): the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.

Risks of greenwashing (by TerraChoice):

If more greenwashing means that marketers are increasingly responding to the demand for sustainable products, this could be a positive trend. If left unchecked, greenwashing creates significant risks:

  • Well-intentioned consumers will be misled into purchases that do not deliver on their environmental promise. When this happens, the consumer’s trust is misplaced and the potential environmental benefit of his or her purchase is wasted
  • Competitive pressure from illegitimate environmental claims will take market share away from products that offer legitimate benefits, thereby slowing the spread of real environmental innovation in the marketplace
  • Greenwashing will lead to cynicism and doubt about all environmental claims. Consumers will give up on marketers and manufacturers, and give up on the hope that their spending might be put to good use
  • The sustainability movement will lose the power of the market to accelerate progress towards
    sustainability

Resources on green purchasing:

Responsible Puchasing Network: http://www.responsiblepurchasing.org
My Big Green Purse: http://www.biggreenpurse.com
Ecoholic: http://www.ecoholic.ca
Green Your: http://www.greenyour.com
Treehugger: http://www.treehugger.com
The Daily Green: http://www.thedailygreen.com
Sustainability Purchasing Network: http://www.buysmartbc.com

Canada’s 17 Advisors

14 Dec

Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice has recruited/APPOINTED 17 prominent Canadians to help advise him during environmental negotiations here at COP15.

Clare Demerse, an analyst for the Pembina Institute, an environmental think tank, said Prentice’s advisers are “an eminent list of people,” but environmental non-governmental organizations (e.g. Oxfam Canada who will push for climate change financing to the poorer countries) and Canadian climate scientists,  should have been invited to join the Canadian delegation. The minister is clearly lacking in advice on many topics. However, Prentice said environmental groups are already well-represented in Copenhagen.

“There’s been (and there still is??) a decided lack of balance in previous COP meetings,” he added.

Demerse said groups such as hers get to meet with Canada’s chief negotiator Michael Martin, but the real decisions will be made at the political level by Prentice and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Before reviewing the list of advisers, consider the fact that Harper has employment history in Imperial Oil situated in Alberta, after he dropped out of the University of Toronto. He moved to Edmonton, Alberta and currently has a private residence there. He completed his Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in economics at the University of Calgary. Harper has kept strong links to the University of Calgary. He was also the Member of the Canadian Parliament for Calgary West since 1993-1997.

Jim Prentice is the Member of the Canadian Parliament for Calgary Centre-North and Canada’s Minister of the Environment. He was educated at the University of Alberta and Dalhousie University. He pad for his tuition by working as a coal miner in the summer months for seven years. As a lawyer, he has specialized in physical property rights including relocations, environmental protection suits, and cases arising from restricted development areas. He also served as a Law Commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission of Canada.

Advisers list

Shawn A-in-chut Atleo: National chief of the Assembly of First Nations

  • Atleo is a Canadian First Nations activist
  • Holds a Master’s degree in education from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia
  • Named chancellor of Vancouver Island University in 2008, becoming the first university chancellor of aboriginal heritage in the province’s history

Elyse Allen: President and CEO of GE Canada

  • President CEO since 2004
  • Advocate for advancing the country’s science and technology base, competitive fiscal policy, and strong cities
  • Has served on the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy

Gary Doer: Canada’s 23rd ambassador to the United States

  • Only since October 19 this year, he has served as Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S.A
  • Previously served as the Premier of Manitoba from 1999 to 2009, leading a New Democratic Party government
  • Rated as Canada’s most popular premier in polls taken in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008
  • Election of 1990, Doer rejected possibility of forming coalition government with the Liberals, allowing Progressive Conservatives to form a coalition government with NDP
  • First NDP premier in Manitoba to lead three successive majority governments

David Emerson: Former federal Conservative cabinet minister

  • Emphasis: FORMER
  • Obtained Bachelor and Master of Economics degree at University of Alberta
  • Received Ph.D in Economics at Queen’s University
  • Was President of the British Columbia Trade Development Corporation
  • Was President and Chief Executive Officer of Canfor Corporation (leading integrated forest products company)
  • Former Member of Parliament for the riding of Vancouver Kingsway
  • First elected as Liberal, served as Minister of Industry under PM Paul Martin
  • After controversially crossing the floor (accepted Harper’s offer) to join Harper’s Conservatives, served as Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and Vancouver Olympics, followed by Minister of Foreign Affairs

Charlie Fischer: Former president and CEO of Nexen Inc. Special adviser on carbon capture and storage under the U.S.-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue

  • Emphasis: FORMER
  • Received Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and Master degree in Finance from the University of Calgary
  • Calgary-based Nexen Inc.
  • Currently co-chairs the Alberta Climate Change Central board

Daniel Gagnier: Chairman of the International Institute for Sustainable Development and past chairman, board of directors, for the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, past chair of the Canadian Standards Association (technical committee on Environmental management), and past chair of the International Emissions Trading Association

  • Formerly Alcan Inc.’s (Aluminum production) senior vice president, Corporate and External Affairs
  • Was deputy Minister of energy and deputy Minister of intergovernmental affairs for Toronto
  • Past president of the Brewers Association of Canada

Linda Hasenfratz (Newton): CEO of Linamar Corp.

  • Publicly traded manufacturer of auto components, assemblies, castings…
  • Completed Executive MBA from the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western and has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Western as well

Mike Holmes: Host and creator of the popular television show Holmes on Homes, and eco-friendly homes developer

  • Well known for his contribution to the international community through his work with SOS Children’s Villages
  • Recognized in Canada’s House of Commons for his promotion of skilled trades and for his advocacy for improved building standards
  • Currently developing Wind Walk, first Holmes Community of eco-friendly and sustainable homes in Southwest Alberta

William Lahey: Director of the Dalhousie Health Law Institute and an assistant professor at Dalhousie Law School

  • Deputy minister for Nova Scotia’s Department of Environment and Labour (2004-2007)
  • Completed education in Mount Alison University (B.A.), Oxford University (B.A.) and University of Toronto (Certificate of Foreign Accreditation)

Jacques Lamarre: Former president and CEO of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.

  • Emphasis:FORMER (from 1996-2009)
  • Earned Bachelor of Arts degree and Bachelor of Arts and Science degree in Civil Engineering from Universite Laval
  • Connection? His older brother controlled Groupe Lavalin in the early 1990s and is now the president of the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal (engineering school)
  • SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is an engineering and construction firm
  • On November 12, 2009, appointed to the Board of Directors of Suncor Energy Inc. (Canada’s largest energy company – situated in Alberta)

Steve MacLean: President of the Canadian Space Agency

  • Appointed President in 2008
  • Canadian astronaut
  • Legislated mandate of CSA: “To promote the peaceful use and development of space, to advance the knowledge of space through science and to ensure that space science and technology provide social and economic benefits for Canadians”

Heather Munroe-Blum: President, vice-chancellor and senior officer of McGill University

  • Completed education from McMaster University, and Wilfrid Laurier University, and received her Ph.D from the University of North Carolina
  • Was a professor at York University, and University of Toronto
  • First woman to occupy position as McGill’s Principal
  • Trained as epidemiologist; has led large-scale epidemiological investigations related to psychiatric disorders
  • Served on the Board of Directors of the Medical Research Council of Canada (a.k.a Canadian Institutes of Health Research), German Academic Exchange Service, Swiss National Science Foundation and National Institute of Mental Health (U.S.A)
  • In 2009, she was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec and Order of Canada
  • As Principal of McGill University, she has campaigned publicly for significant increases in the tuition fees paid by McGill studdents, arguing that current, heavily subsidized fees, amounted to a “dollar store policy on tuition”

Robert Prichard: President and CEO of Metrolinx, the regional transportation authority for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, and vice chair of Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council

  • Studied economics at Swarthmore College and received MBA from the University of Chicago and earned law degrees at the University of Toronto and Yale Law School
  • Served as Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto
  • Appointed president of the University of toronto in 1990 – 2ooo, while UT’s endowment rose to $1.4 billion dollars, the most of any Canadian university
  • Became president of the Star Media Group and chief operating officer of the Torstar Corporation in 2001 (independently-owned Canadian broadly based media company)
  • Torstar’s financial woes have been caused by Prichard’s distraction by his presence on several boards, including Onex (private equity nvestment firm and holding company) and Four Seasons and it has been an open secret that he would love to be a Liberal MP
  • Currently serves as Vice-Chair of Upper Canada Ccollege’s Boarding Task Force, which has the mandate of determining whether the school should shut down its boarding programme
  • Member of the Order of Ontario and Officer of the Order of Canada
  • Was a memberof Imasco‘s (largest tobacco manufacturer in Canada) board of directors since 1993
  • Director of Bank of Montreal
  • Director of George Weston Ltd (engaged in food processing and distribution. Company has two reportable operating segments: Loblaw Companies Limited and Weston Foods)
  • New science, technology, innovation council reports to the Minister of Industry: provides Government of Canada with external policy advice on science and technology issues, and produces regular national reports that measure Canada’s sicence and technology performance against international standards of excellence

Indira Samarasekera: President of the University of Alberta

  • First female president of any university in Alberta
  • Received Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Sri Lanka and her Master degree rom the University of California, and a Doctorate in Metallurgical Engineering at the University of British Columbia
  • Officer of Order of Canada
  • Currently on the board of directors for Scotiabank
  • In defence of white male students (??): “The presidents of the major universities are very concerned we are not attracting young men in the numbers we should… We’ll wake up in 20 years and we will not have the benefit of enough male talent”

Mary Simon: President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, a national Inuit organization

  • Served as Executive Council Member, President, and Special Envoy of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, where she obtined approval from the Russian Government to allow the Inuit of the Chukotka Peninsular to participate in the Conference
  • One of the senior Inuit negotiators during the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution, during First Minister Meetings
  • Apppointed by Prime Minister Jean Chretien to be the first Canadian Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs; acting on instructions from the government of Canada, she took the lead role in negotiating the creation of an eight country council – Arctic Council
  • Held position of Canadian Ambassador to Denmark
  • Was a member of the Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Northern American Free Trade Agreement Commission on Environmental Cooperation
  • Was Chancellor of Trent University
  • From 2004 to 2005, was Special Advisor to the Labrador Inuit Association on the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement
  • Officer of Order of Canada, National Order of Quebec, Gold Order of Greeland

Nancy Southern: President and CEO of Atco Ltd. and Canadian Utilities Limited

  • Alberta-based corporation with three operating divisions: power generation, utilities (natural  gas, electricity transmission, distribution), and global enterprises, and active in industrial manufacturing, technology, logistics, energy services
  • Connections: Nancy’s father is chairman of ATCO, who served as a director of several cooperations including Larfage (French company specializing in cement, construction aggregates, concrete), Southam Inc. (national news agency), Chrysler Corporation of Canada, Imasco (fourth largest international tobacco company), Canadian Airlines, Fletcher Challenge (multinational corporation from New Zealand, with holdings in forestry, building, energy), Royal & SunAllinace (provides insurance products and services to over 20 million policyholders), Canadian Pacific Railway

Galen G. Weston: Executive chairman of Loblaw Companies Ltd., Canada’s largest food distributor

  • Studied at the University of Western
  • Roomates with Dave Nichol, whom Weston made President of Loblaws
  • He and his family are the second richest family in Canada; fortune comes from their interest in Loblaws, Holt Renfrew and Selfridges
  • Officer of the Order of Canada, Order of Ontario

Review of the 17

  • First Nations are represented, as well as lawyers, engineers, science majors and economic majors (very little background in environment)
  • Successful businesses with  connections worthy to note, HOWEVER none of the corporations are known for/pioneers of their environment management systems or social responsibility initiatives in their industry
  • Emphasis on Alberta and the academic institutions within Alberta
  • Present and past Presidents and high decision-making roles in universities (But why not the University of British Columbia, who has the most sustainable campus?)
  • Controversial issues are relevant to some of the individuals  (characters revealed)

What if? by Lemn Sissay

13 Dec

A lost number in the equation
A simple, understandable miscalculation
And what if on the basis of that
The world as we know it changed its matter of fact

Let me get it right. What if we got it wrong?
What if we weakened ourselves getting strong?
What if we found in the ground a file of proof?
What if the foundations missed a vital truth?
What if the industrial dream sold us out from within?
What if our unpunishable defense sealed us in?
What if our wanted more was making less?
And what if all of this wasn’t progress?

Let me get it right. What if we got it wrong?
What if we weakened ourselves getting strong?
What if our wanting more was making less?
And what if all of this wasn’t progress?
What if the disappearing rivers of Eritrea,
the rising tides and encroaching fear
What if the tear inside the protective skin
of Earth was trying to tell us something?

Let me get it right. What if we got it wrong?
What if we weakened ourselves getting strong?
What if the message carried in the wind was saying something?
From butterfly wings to the hurricane
It’s the small things that make great change
In the question towards the end of the leases
no longer the origin but the end of species

Let me get it right. What if we got it wrong?
What if the message carried in the wind was saying something?

The Beginning of Changing the Convention

10 Dec

On December 9, during the second meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) under the agenda item of the consideration of proposals by Parties under Article 17 of the Convention, action can be taken if “deemed necessary.” Proposals were provided by five countries: Japan, Tuvalu, U.S.A, Australia and Costa Rica.

Tuvalu (formally known as the Ellice  Islands, fourth smallest country in the world) provided the following statement:

Being one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change, we are  honoured and pleased to speak.  Our future rests at the outcome of this meeting. As parties are aware, Tuvalu has proposed a legally-binding protocol to be incorporated under the COP. This protocol is not a replacement of the Kyoto Protocol. We believe it should complement the ongoing protocol. We have made Amendments to make this clear. Our proposal for new protocol was tabled six months ago. Therefore this is not a last minute matter. All parties have had the chance to read this proposal. Key elements in proposal follows closely the elements of the Bali Action plan. It has a section of shared vision. It highlights the importance that actions addressing climate change must aim to ensure global temperature increases are well below 1.5 degree Celsius and greenhouse gas concentrations must stabilize at 350 ppm at the most. Our survival is contingent on these numbers. It is a matter of survival.

We have elements on mitigation, incorporating provisions relating to developed countries parties paralleling actions inscribed in the Kyoto Protocol. For developing countries, we have prescribed elements relating to of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) and a registry for NAMAs. On Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), we have proposed a comprehensive set of actions to properly address this issue. We have proposed substantial arrangements for funding of REDD. We have emphasized importance of protecting rights of indigenous peoples. We have addressed economic consequences in a responsible manner and have provided a means to give special attention on potential impacts on women and children. On adaption, we have prescribed specific actions to ensure the most vulnerable countries are afforded the appropriate protection against the impacts of climate change. We have proposed concepts such as an adaptation expert committee, regional centres, a special funding window for adaptation and an international insurance facility and a process for compensation. On technology, we have proposed a technology facility and a development technology centres. On finance, we have proposed a multilateral fund on climate change based on the administrative structure established for the adaptation fund board. The fund would have five funding windows: one for mitigation, one for adaptation, one for REDD, one for insurance, and one for technology. We have also included other procedural provisions relating to immunities, and entering the force.

The proposal by Tuvalu was tabled six months ago, not last week, or today. My Prime Minister and many other heads of state have clear intention to sign a legally-binding agreement. Nothing less. No political declaration, no accord or set of COP decisions will undermine our resolve.

We are here to seal the deal.

We are here to commit to a legally-binding agreement that will guarantee the future of Tuvalu and millions of others in the world. The world is watching is. The time for procrastination is over. It is time to deliver. As recalled by the President’s  (Colleen Hedgaard) opening statement, “Political will – will never be stronger.”

Now is the time to deliver.

Tuvalu has delivered.

We have an agreement; we have the means. Let us pull out the red carpet, put ink in our pens, and drag out the signing table. We call all leaders to sign two legally-binding documents in Copenhagen: (1) amendments to the Kyoto Protocol, and (2) a new protocol which we have called the Copenhagen Protocol, in honour of this great city. We therefore call for a formal contact group to be established to consider the Tuvalu proposal with a view for signature next week. Now is the time to deliver.

Watch the entire meeting here:

http://www2.cop15.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/cop15/templ/play.php?id_kongressmain=1&theme=unfccc&id_kongresssession=2352

In response, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) supported Tuvalu’s strong statement. [Those who expressed their support: Grenada, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Jamaica, Marshall Islands, Sao Tome and Principe, Fiji, Mauritius, Barbados, Palau, Cape Verde, Samoa, and Saint Lucia]. The members of the African group and Least Developed Countries (LDC) also supported the eloquent message by Tuvalu. [These members include: Sierra Leone, Senegal, Rwanda, Togo, Gambia, Niger, South Africa, Mali, and Burkina Faso, and Chad].

G77 and China opposed Tuvalu’s proposal for reasons of focus and attention (China said new proposals are “distractions” but showed “full sympathy” for AOSIS) on the Bali Action Plan, and the reminder of time constraints. [Those who expressed their opposition: India, China, Costa Rica, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Bahrain, Bostwana, Libya, Syrian Arab Republic (noted lack of mention of land degradation and desertification in talks), and Venezula].

As a consequence of discussions, the President of COP15 said that a contact group will be formed with a coacher from Annex I and a coacher from the non-Annex countries. Immediately, Saudi Arabia (G77) proposed that there is no need for a contact group. Instead, the distinguished delegate of Saudi Arabia proposed the responsibility to be given the President herself or the Vice President. Barbados (G77) said that they respected the President’s decision. Later the discussion continued with issues concerns about time constraints (against contact group – meetings to discuss and possibly draft) and the need for maximum transparency (in favour of contact group). The countries who made statements were seemingly consistent with their respective groups and their statements previously made, if they had taken the floor before. However, a need for “unity in diversity of views needs to be maintained,” said the distinguished delegate of the Dominican Republic (AOSIS). Counties who supported Tuvalu said that the establishment of a contact group is the “proper way.” However, Algeria (G77) said that they felt “uncomfortable” with a contact group because of the idea of the “death of the Kyoto Protocol.”

Then the President answered the discussions by suggesting informal consultations to be done and then reported back to the group later. Tuvalu (AOSIS) was unhappy with this and highlighted the core element of delivering a formal process. Barbados (G77) responded by changing its “vote,” noting the vital survival of people and the need for transparency. Saudi Arabia (G77) carried on the debate by “strongly objecting” and commented that establishing a contact group is “ignoring the convention.” India followed Saudi Arabia and claimed itself vulnerable to climate change as well and how the contact group and the proposals made under Article 17b”expressed low confidence in the Kyoto Protocol.” (Consider the reaosn why Article 17 exists and India’s response of vulnerability. Is India suggesting or confirming that the vulnerable countries are given more significance in the discussions?).

Finally, the President said that consensus is required to establish a contact group. Therefore, informal consultations will take place. Venezula (G77) then delivered an emotional speech about how” no paper will save”. A document does not equate political will. Algeria (G77) emphasizes the urgency and sensitivity of time – “the boat is sinking.” China (G77) added  that given its largest population/representation in the world means that they are the most affected by the adverse impacts of climate change. (Again, confirming vulnerability is used in a statement). China finished its statement by noting a new contact group would “duplicate work” and “demean the Bali Action Plan.”

Ultimately, the President announced that due to time constraints and in accordance with rulings and procedures, this agenda item will be addressed through informal consultations. In response to the President’s decision, Tuvalu called for the suspension of COP.

In this event, there are a few things to consider:

  • Maldives has not arrived yet. As the story of COP15 continues, the appearance of the President of Maldives may strengthen Tuvalu’s proposal.
  • The U.S.A, Canada and generally, the Umbrella Group’s views were absent.
  • The existing attachment or appreciation for the Bali Action Group has been evident – why?
  • Stepping stone approach: is an enhancement of the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol enough as a stepping stone? Or has history hinted that the proposed Copenhagen Protocol (from scratch) implemented in addition to the Kyoto Protcol is necessary or most effective to solve the urgency of the common issue of climate change?

The discussion for this agenda item has not been resolved yet.

They Are Listening

10 Dec

The following is the speech delivered by Sylvia Wachira, from the Clean Energy and Safe Environment Initiative during the 4th meeting for the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) on December 10:

I am speaking as a member of the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance and Climate Justice Now!

Africa stands on the frontline of climate change. It is a cruel irony indeed that a people who have lived for so long in harmony with nature are now suffering the disastrous effects of greenhouse gases emitted by developed countries.

For over two centuries the industrialized world became wealthy by drenching the atmosphere in carbon and plundering resources from every region of the world.

The current proposal and pledges by Annex I Parties are supposedly aimed at limiting global warming to 2 degrees. They will not, and 2 degrees is a death sentence for Africa.  According to the IPCC, Africa will warm by more than the average global level. 2 degrees globally means 3 or more degrees for my continent.

Such an increase in temperature would lead to widespread devastation.

It will lead to massive reduction in crop yields in some areas, cutting food outputs in half. More than 600 million people left without adequate water supplies. Our coastlines, villages and cattle will be ravaged. Literally millions of people will die.

The injustice does not stop here. Based on Annex I Parties current proposals and pledges, the 20% of people living in developed countries would consume over 60% of the Earth’s atmospheric space while the 80% who are poor will be consigned to live within the remaining 40%.  You are literally stealing from us the very sky over our heads.

A mere $10 billion is proposed under the Convention negotiations in so-called short-term financing, while the rich countries seek to appropriate from poor countries an atmospheric resource worth trillions. Your 10 billion will not be enough to buy our coffins.

We are expected to accept this deal. Worse still we are expected to celebrate this as success.

We will not.

This grab of our shared atmospheric resource is nothing less than climate colonialism.

Yesterday, African civil society marched alongside Parliamentarians from across the continent chanting: “Two degrees is suicide” and “One Africa, One Degree”.  You must all be absolutely clear: we will not die in silence.