On Monday I was waiting for the COP 15 bus when I was approached by a woman who had asked if I wanted a free ride back to my hostel in an electric car. I said of course! The actual car that I rode in is charged by a standard home outlet. It
to be a small compact car but felt spacious on the interior. It has a range of 70-90 Km, and can take up to 4 hours to charge. This is an ideal solution for those who do not drive that much on a daily basis, plus you can always charge your vehicle at a friends house if that is you destination.
The company that sponsored this program is Move About, a zero emissions car sharing company. Their business began in Oslo, Norway but since has expanded to Gothenburg, Sweden and now Copenhagen. Move About’s vision is to provide fun, convenient, and cost effective mobility. Best of all Move About is looking to expand, so lets convince them to come to Chicago!! I encourage you to experience this for yourself, just walk in to the electric car showcase adjacent to the COP 15 bus stop and ask for a ride!
On Monday I attended this joint event between the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Climate Change (EMCC) and the Caribbean Community for Climate Change (CCCC). They have chosen to combine forces because the issues that each geographic area faces is quite similar. I found this idea of teaming up to be quite interesting.
One of the largest issues for the Caribbean areas is coral bleaching. Coral mortality in some areas is as much as 60% In addition to this there is extensive damage by hurricanes. Because the main weather patterns are shifted hurricanes are able to develop much faster, and in some cases within 24 hours.
In general climate change causes an extreme vulnerability for both the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. This claim is based on frequency of droughts, hurricanes and their intensity, and in increase in average temperatures. Also in both areas there is less precipitation, which causes increased stress on plants and more outbreaks on pest infestations.
While both areas have diverse weather patterns there is much more extreme weather conditions resulting in extreme droughts followed by extreme floods. The temperature changes are just as fatal. Just a few degrees causes migration of fish, and makes fishing impossible. Because they move out of the region there is no more fish supply. This leads to many nutritional issues as 70% of protein for many peoples of this area are derived from fish.
Connie Hedegaard, minister of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, opened by saying “Today marks the mid point of the conference and we need to assess where we are.” Following this several other nations recognized this halfway point as both a milestone and a warning sign. While some progress has been made, there is still much more work ahead to develop a practical agreement.
Tuvalu was the first nation to speak during the negotiation. The delegate from Tuvalu claimed that he “is waiting for senators in the US congress,” claiming that “the fate of the world is resting on the US congress.” From this he explained the severity of the impact on climate change, by explaining that his country is on average two meters above sea level, and at most four meters. The powerful speech was concluded by the delegate telling a story, he said that “When he woke up this morning, he cried.” Further he explained that “This is not something that is easy for a grown man to admit.” he then teared and said “The fate of my country rests in your hands.”
The negotiations lasted longer than the allotted time and many of the nations spoke against the Kyoto Protocol agreeing it is not a viable solution. Many nations spoke of issues of transparency and inclusiveness, long term finances, level of ambition, spirit of flexibility and compromise.
Perhaps the most articulated statement came from Sweeden who claimed that the only solution will be an agreement that is heavily detailed, legally binding, and strict. Sweden spoke on behalf of the EU by explaining that the AWGLCA is too “loose.”
Here is a link to Please help the world – COP15 opening film. I think it’s really inspirational.
During this presentation I learned that education is one of the most important things to European youth. It was mentioned during the meeting that that education is the key to a successful future. The European Youth also feels compassionate with the global south. Because of this funding was raised so that five delegates from the global south would be able to attend the COP 15. Lastly the European Youth are very interested in changing consumption patterns, specifically with meat production. Many European nations have national youth councils and there is a high level of participation within these councils.
The purpose of this event was to explain the need for human rights measures to be present in the climate change agreements at COP15. During the presentation I learned that 61 years ago today, the first human rights laws were established.
Regarding island nations, a 3.5 degree temperature rise will put them under water. There is assistance going to developing nations that is not being given to small island nations. There are talks about relocation of these nations, but this solution is not congruent with the main principles of human rights. Overall there is very little human rights language within the climate agreements. When people are displaced there are issues of sovereignty. Even though some islands will be partially submerged there will be many key resources that will be erased including fishing, and tourism.
The United Nations Human Rights Council confirmed the implications of climate change will have negative adverse affects on human rights. The Maldives played a key role in the distinction. There was a study conducted on these issues, which looked into how human health is affected my climate change. This determined that rights to life, health, food, and drinking water would be affected by climate change.
The issue with climate change is that people’s way of life is adversely affected. The most substantial issue being food production. This is also a cultural issue because this affects ancient skills that are passed down from generation to generation. This is especially an issue in the attic regions. The main presentation concluded with two quotes; “This is our planet this is our future!” and “Climate change is our common ground but humanity is our true common ground.”
Human rights established in the presentation were:
The right to a means of subsistence.
The right to Water.
The right to Property and to the use of Traditional Lands.
The right to preservation of Health.
The Right to be Free from discrimination.
Indigenous Rights in International Law.
The rights of Women.
The rights of Culture.
The right of all people to participate (in government activity)