Thursday, 24 November 2011

COP17: Dynamic or disconnected?

Between 1990 and 2009, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increased by 40%. During this time, there was the Earth Summit in Rio, the UN Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, which proved to do very little in stemming the increasing GHG’s in our atmosphere. Worst of all, is that emissions are escalating every day, yet some of the governments of the world are reluctant to implement significant measures for change. This is not a very strong foundation to base the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, better known as COP17, on.

The City of Durban in South Africa will be the official host for the COP17 event, with officials from almost every country planning on attending. A question that we should all be asking is if this conference is merely a gesture to show climate-change-worriers that those most responsible for GHG emissions are trying to find solutions. Another question should be based on why we have not found an answer to emissions reduction in over 20 years, since the Rio Earth Summit. Or why some countries are pleading to increase GHG emissions, when the environment can barely handle current atmospheric concentrations.

Unfortunately, there are no clear-cut answers to any of these questions, or the many more queries we can make regarding our governments’ inability to implement change. What is certain though is that the environment in which we live is being heavily impacted by extreme weather events which lead to droughts, floods and storms caused by global warming. Will the delegates at COP17 manage to pull a rabbit out of the hat, or are we all just waiting for more magic using smoke and mirrors?

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