Factsheet produced by IATP in conjunction with eight other NGOs analyzing mitigation issues in the Durban climate talks.
The world is already reeling from major humanitarian emergencies exacerbated by climate change: floods in Thailand and Pakistan, landslides from extreme rains in many Latin American countries, and the multi-year drought in the Horn of Africa that threatens the lives of millions.
Current levels of warming have already begun triggering major “tipping points” in the Earth’s system – such as Arctic methane releases, Amazon dieback, and the loss of icesheets. 2°C of warming, as proposed by some governments, threatens to tip a cascade of events that will cause warming to spin out ofcontrol. We have known since 1986 that warming “beyond 1°C may elicit rapid, unpredictable and non-linear responses that could lead to extensive ecosystem damage,” the effects of which we’re seeing already.
…But rich countries risk climate anarchy
To address this crisis many countries—particularly developing countries—seek an agreement in Duban based on science, on the existing legally binding and multilateral system reflected in the Climate Convention and its Kyoto Protocol, and on the deal agreed by all countries in the Bali Roadmap.
A handful of wealthy countries—including notably the United States—are now seeking to move the goalposts. They want to dismantle the rules for developed countries’ emissions reductions, shift the burden to developing countries, and renege on the Bali Roadmap. In the process, they are trying to end the Kyoto Protocol, and even the Convention, and replace it with a weak, ineffective “pledge and review” system that may take years to negotiate.
Durban, then, is shaping up as a clash of paradigms between those who believe that the world deserves and needs a science- and rules-based multilateral climate system to tackle perhaps the greatest challenge to face humanity, and those who are seeking to dismantle the existing one.