The outlook for Copenhagen has become even more grim this week as two key “walkouts” occur on opposite sides of the world.
The first case occurred today as the climate talks commenced in Barcelona. The African delegation consisting of 50 countries walked out of meetings in protest of the extraordinarily half-hearted efforts put forth by richer nations. The African delegation was upset because they are unhappy with what they believe to be “low” carbon-cutting goals on the part of developed nations. The science has suggested that developed countries should reduce their emissions by at least 25-40% of their 1990 levels by 2020, and the African delegation felt that the goal should be 40% minimum. The walkout was supported by many other delegations including the G77 plus China. The American delegation refused to give any numbers until congress approves it.
In another crucial roadblock to any progress on the issue of climate change, Republicans decided to boycott a senate Enviroment and Public works and Committee. The committee was to start a debate on a bill that would attempt to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The Republicans said that the reason they choose to boycott because they fear the bills potential impact on the US economy, a tactic that is clearly more constructive than actually debating that issue…
According to Reuters, the African delegation ended the boycott today. A move that both allows for actual progress to be made in the final meeting before and shifts the focus of the meetings towards the needs of poorer countries and their desire to see greater emission cuts on the part of more developed countries.
Hopefully discussions not walk-outs will shape the direction of the Climate Change debate as we move forward.