FI Participates in Durban Climate Change Conference
The United Nations Climate Change Conference, Durban 2011 (COP 17) from 28 November to 9 December brought together representatives of the world's governments, international organisations and civil society including representatives of the Franciscan Family. Br. Bernd Beerman OFM Cap. represented Franciscans International in discussions on stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
The stakes were high as 194 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) tried to find a consensual agreement. “On Friday it looked like the whole process would simply fall apart as major stakeholders did not want to agree on any obligations to reduce carbon emissions either now or in the future,” reported Br. Bernd. “The mere fact that the process was saved, despite there not being any immediate commitments by a number of major nations, can be regarded as a success.”
For the first time every county in the world has committed to cutting carbon emissions – although the treaty will not come into force until 2020. In the interim between now and 2020, Europe and a few other countries have committed to a second period of the Kyoto Protocol. It is also planned to set up a Green Climate Fund that will channel around £60bn a year towards helping countries adapt to climate change from 2020.
Some conference participants however fear that this is not enough. Further temperature rise is predicted to cause further flooding, drought and consequently hunger which will most affect the world’s poor and vulnerable.
“The outcome is to a large extent disappointing as no concrete reduction of emissions were agreed on,” continued Br. Bernd. “The danger of not meeting the necessary emissions reductions in time is still high, but at least the negotiations are going on. The time to come will be tough and much needs to be done by all stakeholders.”