Reflections from COP18, Wednesday 28 November
In my 15 years as an environmental activist, Doha 2012 is my first COP experience. The day started by attending a plenary session on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The chair presented the CDM report for the last year, to which many countries actively provided a wide range of comments ideas about the Mechanism. Most countries were not satisfied with the methodologies, framework and achievements of the CDM, and suggested redefining its goals and objectives. Others emphasised the need to search for innovative funding methods.
Subsequently, I attended a side event on “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation” which was presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and chaired by Dr. Renate Christ. During the discussion, the panel put forward different examples from all over the world such as hurricanes in the USA, flash floods in Nairobi, Kenya, and drought in Africa. These presentations stimulated an animated discussion amongst the audience of over 200 people, which seemingly enhanced the participants’ knowledge on interrelationship between climate change and extreme events.
I also experienced some interesting discussions today about equity and climate change. Another side event entitled “Closing the equity gap – Is equity enabler or barrier to increase ambition?” explored this relationship, with the discussion focusing on three key dimensions: limiting planetary warming, sharing efforts and disaggregating means (finance etc.). The discussion panel concluded that equity must be seen as an enabler for increasing the ambition of climate change efforts.
At this stage, however, these discussions remain exactly that, just discussions. The real question is whether the negotiators here at COP will take these messages on board and make the bold commitments so urgently needed to avoid a climate catastrophe. To quote Senator John Kerry, “Climate change is real. The science is compelling. And the longer we wait, the harder the problem will be to solve.”.