cop17 off to wobbly start, stakes high, occupy cop17

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2011-11-29 12:43

Trans African Climate Caravan of HopeTrans African Climate Caravan of HopeThe 17th Conference of the Parties literally got off to a slow start yesterday, with Pres. Zuma arriving on Africa Time. There were also rumours of Canada backing out of the Kyoto Protocol before Christmas and fears of the Kyoto Protocol being "murdered on African soil". Will Occupy COP17 become a force to be reckoned with and dare you drink the water? More after the jump!

President Zuma urges a "balanced, fair and credible" outcome.
The Pres arrived over a half an hour late for the opening of COP17, with proceedings only getting underway by 10.41. "You have before you the responsibility to re-affirm the multilateral rules-based system undercut by the Kyoto Protocol," said Zuma. He warned that Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change and called on delegates to provide funding needed by developing countries to address climate change impacts. More

SA's International Relations Minister assumes COP presidency.
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane was confirmed as COP17 president and told delegates they had a "mammoth task" ahead of them. "We are in Durban with one purpose: that is to secure a future for generations to come". She also warned that if the issue of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol was not resolved, "the outcome of other matters in the negotiations will become extremely difficult".

Storms in KZN takes lives
In a cruel twist of fate extreme weather strikes KZN on Sunday night, only hours before COP17 begins. The violent storm killed six people in Durban and Pmb and destroyed scores of homes. Eleven people have been killed by floods in the province in the last 2 weeks. More

Fossil of the Day AwardsFossil of the Day Awards
Rumours of Canada's withdrawal from Kyoto Protocol
Russia, Canada and Japan have throughout the year shied away from a second round of the Kyoto Protocol, but yesterday Canada emerged as the "skunk of climate talks" after receiving the Fossil of the Day Award (first and second place), for reports suggesting that the North American country was ready to abandon the protocol completely. Climate Action Network (CAN), a worldwide network of roughly 500 environmental NGOs judges three “Fossil of The Day” awards to countries who perform the worst during the past day’s negotiations at UN climate change conferences. More

UNFCCC executive secretary urges positive mindset
Christiana Figueres, who replaced Yvo de Boer as head of the U.N. climate secretariat in 2010, said on Sunday the stakes for the COP17 negotiations are high, underscored by new scientific studies. Figueres said under discussion at COP17 was "nothing short of the most compelling energy, industrial, behavioral revolution that humanity has ever seen." She called on delegates to maintain a positive mind set, quoting former president Nelson Mandela: "It always seems impossible until it is done."

Delegates drink tap water
When delegates from countries where tap water is not regarded as clean were served water in jugs, they asked whether it was safe to drink. Most attendees had no problem swigging back the Adam's Ale from a tap once it was explained to them the water was perfectly safe. The reduction of bottled water was one of Durban’s initiatives to help reduce the use of energy.

"We are very impressed with what they have done. It shows they have put a lot of effort into lowering their carbon footprint during this huge conference," said Tasneem Essop of the World Wide Fund for Nature. More

Occupy COP17
Occupy COP 17 held its first General Assembly on Monday. Another is planned today (Tues) after a rally demanding climate justice and saying no to false solutions. "Is there a potential for a Climate Spring like the Arab Spring," writes Patrick Bond.

"That crisis is surely upon us, with more than 300,000 people dying annually because of climate change, according to demographers. Might the UNFCCC live up to global-governance potential — last realised in the 1987 Montreal Protocol that banned CFCs to save the ozone hole - or instead will Durban be known as the Conference of Polluters, the place the Kyoto Protocol's mechanism for binding emissions-cut commitments died, while carbon trading remained the vehicle the 1% chooses for its climate gambling?" More