The United Nations Climate Change Conference – Sunday, 6.12.2009
The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 641
From 7 to 18 December 2009 the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP 15 – will convene in Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark. It will be the most intensively prepared and biggest of these conferences, and the large number of highest level government leaders who have announced that they will participate is an indication that there is a widely shared awareness that the world is facing a real crisis.
The report from the introductory briefing by the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – UNFCCC – its more formal name – Yvo de Boer, says:
“The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen will be a turning point in the fight to prevent climate disaster. The science demands it, the economics support it, future generations require it. In early December, negotiators, ministers and world leaders will assemble in the Danish capital to give the people of all nations a strong answer to this common, global threat of climate change.
“In a briefing to the press less than two weeks ahead of the historic UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP 15), UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer spoke about his expectations for the meeting, which he described as a ‘historic turning point.’
“In particular, a successful outcome in Copenhagen requires ambitious emissions targets from industrialized countries, as well as stable and predictable finance to support mitigation and adaptation actions by developing countries – with USD 10 billion a year up to 2013 needed to kick-start immediate action.
“Success in Copenhagen, he said, can put the world on a low-emissions growth path and ensure that poor and vulnerable nations are in a position to adapt to the effects of climate change.
“Underlining that there is no time to lose, and that the stakes are too high for political self-interest, Mr. de Boer called on countries to work in a spirit of cooperation and compromise to seal the deal in Copenhagen.”
Actually, it is not one conference, but a cluster of different conferences with different, specific tasks:
“COP 15 will be held in conjunction with the fifth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), the 31st sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), the 10th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the 8th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA).”
And there will be even ample possibility for virtual participation in COP 15 through the Internet:
A commentary by the Mayor of the City of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg, under the title THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL, points to the facts that whatever the assembled governments decide will only lead to results if the international framework will be implemented locally, and that means often that this happens only after fighting for its implementation at the local level. “And local and state elected officials understand that voters care about climate change and expect their cities and states to do their part,” so that those who want to be elected have to respond to the legitimate expectations of the people.
That requires especially cities to implement “bold steps to address climate change through transportation policy, energy efficiency, and urban planning,” making sure that “existing buildings are more energy efficient,” including and up “to revitalize parks.”
Such considerations provide a link back to our own situation, when following the events during the next two weeks – and beyond into an uncertain future. What will it mean, to act locally, when one considers even only the few points mentioned by the mayor of New York – for the bold steps Phnom Penh has to take: for future plans for the ever increasing local traffic, for energy efficiency of the many buildings – old and new – which waste a lot of electricity for air-conditioning, as they were not designed with the goal to save energy, and for the preservation of open spaces in and around the city?
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