According to British researcher David Fickling,

25 UN conferences failed to stop climate change

  • Pollution has reached irreversible levels in many parts of the world.

    About the "Washington Post"

picture

The eyes of the world are turning to the Scottish city of Glasgow, in anticipation of an important conference, which will be launched at the end of this month, during which the issue of climate change will be discussed.

The 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is scheduled to be held from October 31 to November 12, to discuss this crucial issue, within the ceiling of high expectations for dealing with climate change problems.

But the British economic researcher and analyst, David Fickling, is less optimistic.

Fickling says, in a report published by Bloomberg News Agency, that there have been 25 conferences under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, since the first conference on this matter was held in 1995.

During that period, he adds, about 894 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide were emitted, or about 37% of the total greenhouse gases in human history.

What makes anyone think that the 26th meeting, which begins on October 31, will be more effective?

The answer, he says, lies in the age-old challenges of concluding major international agreements, noting that this may be more optimistic than is thought.

One of the maxims that underpin multilateralism is that effective global agreements can be deep and narrow, or broad and shallow, but they will not work if they try to be both deep and broad.

Fickling sees the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which controls chemicals that damage the ozone layer, as a classic example of the first prong of that adage.

The treaty's implications are profound, as it is legally binding on every UN member state and on its own would reduce global warming by 1 degree Celsius, but its scope is narrow.

international standards

On the other hand, the United Nations human rights treaties set broad global standards for relations between the individual and the state, but their implementation is so superficial that signatories often seem to treat them as worthless paper promises.

Nine of the 10 countries ranked lowest for gender equality in the Women's Peace and Security Index have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

schizophrenia

This schizophrenia puts climate talks at a disadvantage from the start, says Fickling.

The intentions are astonishingly broad, to reshape the energy systems that have powered the entire planet since the Industrial Revolution, as well as the land-use practices that have been in use since the Stone Age.

At the same time, enforcement must be deep, because the world cannot afford to repeat the emissions trajectory it has been on since that first meeting.

Compounding the problem, the author says, individual countries are deeply divided over how to move forward.

This is best illustrated by the split between the Group of Seven major developed economies, which together accounted for about 53 percent of historical carbon emissions, and the Group of 77 developing countries.

Controlling emissions in post-industrial economies, which have peaked populations, is a much easier job than in countries that are just embarking on the rapid increase in population, income, and industrial activity, which we call development.

The Group of 77, which includes among its largest representatives China, India, Brazil and Indonesia, is often portrayed as a spoiler of negotiations, refusing to accept limits on polluting capacity, and saying that rich countries must cut their emissions faster before poorer countries agree to any Absolute limits.

The G7 countries are accused of not allowing the boost their economies have received from decades of emissions, and of harassing developing countries that have few alternative options.

first protocol

This split often shaped conversations.

The core of the Kyoto Protocol, the first major climate agreement adopted at the Conference of the Third Parties in 1997, was essentially a treaty between the Group of Seven plus the former Soviet Union, Australia and New Zealand, but if action on climate change is to be held hostage to resolving centuries-old disputes between nations colonialism and its former empires, the prospects for planet Earth are already bleak, according to Fickling.

But it's not all bleak, as the writer says there is still reason for optimism.

One of the surprising facts of Kyoto, he adds, is that an agreement that was widely seen as a failure worked in many ways.

Countries that remained in the agreement not only met the 5% emissions reduction target over the two decades after 1990, but far exceeded it, with cuts of 11% deepening to 17% by 2019. This fits well with the evidence that ambitious targets are likely to More than timid goals are achieved.

Fickling concludes his report by saying that the problem with Kyoto was not that countries did not reach the goals they committed to, but that very few committed themselves to the goals at all.

• Fickling: If action on climate change is to be held hostage to resolving centuries-old conflicts between colonial nations and their former empires, the prospects for planet Earth are already bleak.

• Controlling emissions in post-industrial economies, which have peaked populations, is a much easier job than in countries that are just embarking on the rapid increase in population, income, and industrial activity, which we call development.

Follow our latest local and sports news and the latest political and economic developments via Google news

Keywords: