17th Climate Conference in Durban
This issue however is also sharply debated, subject to divisions concerning what needs to be done. This is evident in the slow progress of a global vision and the reluctance of certain countries, both of which are exacerbated by the economic crisis and political pressures.
Yet since the 1980s and since the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the urgency to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases has been recognized and placed on national and international agendas.
As early as 2002, President Jacques Chirac had already evoked a “burning house” in his speech at the Johannesburg Earth Summit in South Africa. He concluded with the observation that, “(…) we are looking away.”
Today, in another South African city, the Durban Conference is being held from Monday, November 28 until December 9, the friction between the 191 States represented is to be feared. Negotiations could suffer from it. It is the very future of the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding instrument on climate issues, that is being negotiated. In 2012, the original forum of this legal framework, which requires some 40 polluting countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, will expire.
We must reach an agreement because those countries most vulnerable to climate “disorders” (extreme phenomenon exacerbated by climate change such as droughts, floods, etc.) are not “historical” polluters. These countries are calling for solidarity, “for many people in developing countries and in Africa, climate change is a matter of life or death” stated South African President Jacob Zuma at the Opening Ceremony of the Conference of Durban. Such Climate Solidarity could be embodied in the establishment of the Green Climate Fund, discussed in 2010 in Cancun, Mexico, and supported by the UN’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.