Climate negotiators gathered last week in the UN headquarters in Geneva, to urgently draft a pact from a document produced in the Lima conference last year. They were urged to produce a draft, in order to create an efficient plan to tackle the climate change the planet is facing.
According to Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, president of the negotiations, it is very urgent to reach an agreement on climate change that will be efficient enough to replace the Kyoto Protocol reached in 1997. He emphasized how little time there is to make a change, and said from now on each day must be a success towards the targets to tackle global warming. He added there is only one planet and one team and there should not be any competition between countries.
The world governments hope this year there will be a significant change from the common trend on climate talks, which are usually slow and do not move things forward. Negotiations between 190 countries with different worries and interests are posing a great challenge to the participating nations. This challenge is what reveals the urgency for the climate negotiators to draft a pact ready for December.
One of the main difficulties resides in reaching an agreement between nations on cutting the the carbon emission that traps the heat, which scientists emphasize as a requirement to not reach a dangerous level of warming. Under the Kyoto Protocol, only richer countries had to reduce their carbon emissions from gas, oil and carbon consumption. However the situation is quite different now, such emissions are also coming from developing countries and so a new agreement needs to be met, including all the different economies.
Another critical point is the level of commitment different nations are willing to accept. For example the EU, on one hand, expects a legally binding protocol to emerge from the Paris summit; while the US cannot accept something like that as they know it will not be approved by Congress. Encompassing all nations under the same legal framework is almost impossible, a good alternative would be to have targets suited to each country’s situation.
One thing is clear to every member: they all agree that the temperature of the planet must not rise above 3.6 degrees Farenheit, as compared to pre-industrial times. The question now is how that goal is going to be met. Many of the nations expect the Paris summit to produce a clear answer on how to translate cutting carbon emissions into not rising above 3.6 degrees.
Some state members defend the idea posed by the Climate Science Panel that in order to have a greater chance to stay below those 3.6 degrees limit, the whole planet must cut the carbon emissions on a 40 to 70 percent before 2050. Other members though, defend there must be net zero emissions by the same year, which means there should not be emissions above the level the forests can deal with. Thanks to the climate talks in Geneva, the UN experts are more aware of the need to urgently draft a sustainable pact ready for December.
By Vanessa Pouso
Photo by Joao Araujo Pinto – Flickr License