Thursday, Oct 7, 10:00-12:00 am CEST
Climate Change Negotiations
Climate change, most of which is human induced, has become one of the biggest challenges of this generation. Different countries are already planning on how to respond to current and projected climate change through adaptation and mitigation. This has seen increased globalisation of Climate Change Issues mainly through global climate agreements and commitments over the years. Among these is the prominent the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Conferences of Parties, whose role is to set an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. The UNFCCC gathers and shares information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best practices. It also launches national strategies for addressing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to expected impacts, including the provision of financial and technological support to developing countries. Apart from that, it cooperates in preparing for adaptation to the impacts of climate change.
Similarly, there are other many global agreements on other issues apart from Climate Change that aim at addressing other global environmental and health problems. We have to agree all these agreements are part of what the world needs to solve problems of the current and future generations. However, the problem is Who negotiates these agreements? There has been no criteria of who can negotiate and who cannot negotiate in these agreements, especially the Climate agreements.
Rising Green House Gases
According to the GLOBAL 500 GREENHOUSE GAS REPORT published by Thomas Reuters, when total GHG emissions from the operations and use of the products from only 32 energy companies were analysed, they found that 31 percent of GHG emitted globally on an annual basis, comes from these companies and also from use of their products. We all understand, current Climate Change is mainly due to human induced greenhouse gas emissions, worse still, according to the UN, climate change is already responsible for the death of 300.000 people per year. Why then do we let the fossil fuel industry, that is partly responsible for this damage, negotiate agreements against it works? How can an organisation who directly opposes the ultimate objective of the UNFCCC convention, which is to reduce emissions causing climate change and to protect people and the planet from its effects, participate in a decision making process to stop climate change? These are questions we should start asking.
It is true they come to take responsibility and blind other negotiators with financial commitments for Climate Change activities. The global carbon has continued to increase from fossil fuel industry and this is an indicator of lack of commitment of the fossil fuel industry to cut down the carbon emissions. Moreover, the current options for reduction of carbon emissions from fossil fuel industry such as carbon sequestration are still very expensive and difficult to implement in most parts of the developing world. These companies could opt for renewable energy to offset the impacts of carbon pollution and thus if they are still undertaking fossil fuel business that is responsible for Climate Change, then there is no way they should be negotiators. Fossil industry thus can be engaged at a level of revolutionising the energy industry to clean energy rather than the usual norm as participation as negotiators on behalf of fossil fuel industry blame takers. Therefore, allowing climate negotiations that include fossil fuel industry as key stakeholders to discuss how the fossil fuel industry can grow sustainably is not necessary.
There is need for the UNFCCC to strengthen its mechanisms to address perceived or actual conflicts of interests that could arise from that engagement of different non state actors in its negotiations in order to safeguard its integrity. I believe this will be through setting criteria to only include non-state actors that can fight for the planet despite their personal interests, and the Fossil Fuel Industry cannot be among those.