Protracted UN-led climate change negotiations in Durban struggled to respond to the urgency of our planet’s global warming crisis, underscoring the impotence of the global governance system, according to Mikhail Gorbachev, Founding President of Green Cross International.
“It is unacceptable that world leaders are still stalling on a global plan to cut emissions of carbon to curb the increase of temperatures,” says Mr Gorbachev.
“We witnessed in Durban wrangling and hair splitting over legal terminology, as well as bald-faced delaying tactics that threatened to derail the negotiations,” he adds. “The decision-makers must wake up to the fact that the lives of billions of people today and in the future depend on them to act in unison to respond to the global challenge that climate change poses.”
Progress was made on the system to manage a Green Fund to pay for developed country measures to adapt to the threats posed by climate change. But as we saw in Copenhagen, Durban also failed to answer the most important question: who is going to pay into the fund?
“Durban represents a triumph of failed micromanagement,” says Green Cross President Alexander Likhotal.
“Horse-trading over what must be done to protect our planet sends a bad signal to people all over the world by showing that their decision-makers, and the global governance system they work within, are impotent and unable to rise to this most essential of challenges.”
“It is clear,” Mr Likhotal adds, “ that we need to focus much more on direct grassroots activities as well as the potential of the regions to offset climate change, because we apparently cannot rely on our decision-makers to take the right actions.”
The Durban Platform for Enhanced Action” commits all countries to cut carbon for the first time. A “road map” will guide countries towards a legal deal to cut carbon in 2015, but will only come into affect after 2020. This apparently flies in the face of the science that says the world needs to peak in its carbon emissions by 2020 and start to come down for the world to limit temperature rise to 2C.
The Durban deal, however, does not meet the expectations of certain countries, like the small island states, and civil society that wanted a much stronger accord.
Green Cross International, founded by Mikhail Gorbachev, is an independent non-profit and nongovernmental organization working to address the inter-connected global challenges of security, poverty eradication and environmental degradation through a combination of high-level advocacy and local projects. GCI is headquartered in Geneva and has a growing network of national organisations in over 30 countries.
Director of Communications
Green Cross International