The COP 17 climate negotiations wrap up today in Durban, South Africa. Although there are very low expectations, some optimism remains. However unlikely, it is not impossible for developed and developing countries to compromise and reach an agreement on equitable and enforceable targets to reduce CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions.
The UN’s climate change chief Christina Figueres stated that “future commitments by industrial countries to slash greenhouse gas emissions is the defining issue of this conference.”
“We are in Durban with one purpose: to find a common solution that will secure a future to generations to come,” said Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa’s international relations minister who is chairing the summit.
As though to reinforce the urgency of a solution, an unusual torrential storm hit Durban on the eve of the conference. The storm prompted Figueres to say “Although the unseasonable storm cannot be directly linked to climate change, it is the kind of extreme weather that scientists say is happening more often.”
Even if we do not see the groundbreaking progress we need, the negotiations will proceed beyond the end of COP 17. Although the situation may look bleak, we must continue to hope because when it comes to managing climate change failure is not an option.
Figueres, quoting Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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