Am I going mad, or are climate politics becoming as weird as the weather itself? Based on developments over the last week, I’d say the latter.
Less than a month before the annual climate conference begins in Durban, confusing signals from a series of international meetings make it harder to distinguish between the leaders and the laggards. And as scientists are poised to release their latest worrisome findings on the state of the climate, it’s worth repeating that leadership is needed now more than ever.
Let’s start with the science. Following on the heels of the recent study confirming the IPCC’s findings on temperature trends, a new report from the IPCC on extreme weather was leaked to the press last week. As an AP journalist described it, “The report paints a wild future for a world already weary of weather catastrophes costing billions of dollars.” NBC Nightly News ran a sobering and solid piece that sums up the science on extreme weather.
The IPCC report also shows, however, that experiencing wild weather and surviving it are two different propositions, and the difference boils down to resiliency. Sadly, it is the poorest countries and communities which are least resilient. Take Grenada for instance: hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 wiped out its agriculture, and then a record drought in 2010 damaged its fisheries, tourism and agriculture. As a consequence the country is struggling for economic survival, with 30% unemployment.
So what are vulnerable countries like Grenada doing about it? Bracing themselves for one thing, and working to build resilience. But their efforts aren’t purely focused on local defenses. Since 1989 the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) has been battling for climate action, and its 1994 proposed treaty was a model for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. More recently, AOSIS under the leadership of Grenada helped get over 100 of the most vulnerable countries to support a global goal of holding warming below 1.5°C. In 2009, with concern mounting, the Climate Vulnerable Forum was initiated, calling for 1.5° and limiting atmospheric concentrations of CO2 to 350 ppm. The draft declaration for their next meeting (Dhaka, Bangladesh 13-14 November) was posted last week and was inspiring in its ambition.
Read more: Huffington Post >>
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