So if you are wondering why the long silence since the post last week, well…I am in Durban after all, where things tend to move a little slower than Joburg and about as fast as Cape Town. And it has been busy: the ‘People’s Space’ at University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), mostly at the initiative of Patrick Bond, has taken off and is always buzzing with energy, people and a whole herd of news crews from local and international media.
Notes from the seaside
Daybreak in Durban was the usual muggy warmth that seems to seep into every pore of your skin just as perspiration is trying to seep out, leaving you feeling grubby and damp and taking three showers before 10am…but that is a waste of water (which is thankfully being recycled) so let’s not dwell here in this damp spot and rather move on to occupying Durban and more specifically occupying the climate change talks…
The Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations held a meeting to discuss major issues from the 17th Conference of the Parties from civil society organisations and government perspectives in Lehakoe, Maseru.
Apart from that, the participants and stakeholders mapped a way forward in addressing climate change issues and challenges in Lesotho, and also forged working relationships.
The faith community is among key stakeholders calling for the establishment of a permanent International People’s Tribunal on Ecological Debt. Such a tribunal would hold environmental violators accountable for the climate change they are causing in local communities, particularly in developing nations.
There are many definitions for ecological debt. The concept highlights the disparity between industrialised nations, which consume a greater share of the global resource pool, and developing nations, who have larger populations, but consume fewer resources and produce less waste.
Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, says the Kyoto Protocol was saved by the last minute agreement reached by parties at the COP17 conference in Durban.
Molewa points out that, "We have been able to preserve the multiple rules based system underpinning the mitigation regime by agreeing on a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol."
Canada became the first country to formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, saying the pact on cutting carbon emissions is preventing the world from effectively tackling climate change.
The country’s Environment Minister, Peter Kent, says that following a marathon 17th Congress of the Parties (COP17), at which nations agreed to a new roadmap for worldwide action.
French Ecology Minister, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, has described the deal reached during overtime at the 17th Congress of the Parties (COP17) as a ‘real step forward’.
However, Kosciusko-Morizet, points out that, "The progress on how we will finance the Green (Climate) Fund is two slow.”
She argues that in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the full amount - in commitments - is not there.
Thousands of exhausted delegates burst into applause and cheers over the weekend after passing the final COP17 proposals, nearly 36 hours after they were originally scheduled to finish.
The European Union (EU), under the passionate leadership of Connie Hedegaard, has come out the biggest winner, with the final outcome most closely resembling its proposals.
The 54-nation African Group says its minimum expectation from the COP17 climate change conference in Durban is a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol.
The negotiating bloc's chairperson, Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, says that the group wants to see the Green Climate Fund up and running.
Mpanu-Mpanu states that the group wants to leave COP17 with a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol, one which has legally-binding dimensions, not merely political ones.
Canada's environment Minister, Peter Kent, has declared that for his country the Kyoto Protocol ‘is in the past’, a position touching on the trigger issue at the climate talks here.
Kent confirmed that Canada would not back a new round of carbon-cutting pledges under Kyoto after the first series runs out at the end of 2012.
"We have long said we will not take on a second commitment under the Kyoto Protocol. We will not obstruct or discourage those that do, but Kyoto for Canada is in the past," he explained.