December 9, 2011

Climate Change Talks. Or: there’s a lot of work to do.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC), in Durban, South Africa is set to wrap up today after two weeks of session.  The annual Conference of the Parties (COP17 for short) is a global, wide-netted group that is mission-bound for large scale response to climate change. According to the organization:

“We support cooperative action by States to combat climate change and its impacts on humanity and ecosystems. This is our contribution to a sustainable world and to realizing the vision of peace, security and human dignity on which the UN is founded.”

What is expected to come of this year’s conference, which is number 17 in the collection?  The big question mark hangs over the future of the Kyoto Protocol, which was signed in 1997 and will experience the expirataion of several key provisions next year.  It’s also unknown if nations will arrive at an outcome that will feature a new treaty to reduce greenhouse-gas from the big-hitters and developing countries.  The group states:

“What happens beyond 2012 is one of the key issues governments of the 195 Parties to the Convention are currently negotiating. Climate change is a complex problem, which, although environmental in nature, has consequences for all spheres of existence on our planet. It either impacts on– or is impacted by– global issues, including poverty, economic development, population growth, sustainable development and resource management. It is not surprising, then, that solutions come from all disciplines and fields of research and development.                       

At the very heart of the response to climate change, however, lies the need to reduce emissions. In 2010, governments agreed that emissions need to be reduced so that global temperature increases are limited to below 2 degrees Celsius.”

For more information, take a moment with the details:

Climate change in context timeline

Text of the Kyoto Protocol

Unfcc fact sheets

It’s incredibly interesting (and startlingly bleak) to digest what experts describe as tipping points in the health of our Earth.  The confrence deals with big numbers, big change and seemlingly distant modules for addressing climate change.


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