Tuesday, November 30, 2010


by Uchita de Zoysa (Convenor – Climate Sustainability PLATFORM)

Those of us who were in Copenhagen a year ago for the COP15 felt like it was a carnival. While the actual negotiations did not produce any result of worth, the Danish government and their stakeholders spent loads of money, energy and resources to make Copenhagen into one big carnival to keep the seventeen thousand plus visitors entertained. It was not just during the the COP15 days, but the entire year had various preparatory events in the city to create a climax for the big carnival at the end of the year. Compared to Copenhagen, the hype around the Cancun COP16 has been rather low. It was difficult to imagine the circus going to be at the end of the year.

The enthusiasm to save the world and have climate justice has not been as high as it was the previous year. Many months ago I asked some climate concerned activists who were in Copenhagen if they plan to go to Cancun. Most of them said ‘NO” and it was obvious why? If Copenhagen that promised a lot came out with close to nothing, then Cancun which is rather low key in news may not result in anything. But, from today, let’s wait and see what the Cancun Climate Circus has to offer the world. A year ago in Copenhagen the Climate Sustainability PLATFORM, a group of people representing regions and stakeholders of the world, demanded that UNFCCC delivers the following;
“Climate and Sustainability need to be addressed together, not decoupled. Therefore, an agreement on Climate Sustainability will be decisive in coming together as one world to reverse decades of irresponsible consumption, production, and trade patterns and to build an equitable, fair, and just world. Climate sustainability must be the shared vision of the UNFCCC because it is the aspiration of the people. Climate Sustainability addresses pressing issues of poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation through relevant strategies for mitigation, adaptation, finance, and technology sharing. Governments must demonstrate political will and vision by signing a binding 'Climate Sustainability Agreement' enforced through strong compliance mechanisms. Only this will empower people to live in harmony with all species in a healthy planet that ensures wellbeing and happiness to all.”

A year later the demand is the same, but the status of the climate negotiations remain as unconvincing as it was. So where are we now? Are we any closer to Climate Sustainability? Absolutely not! In fact are drifting further away from a 2°C destiny that could be a very warm and unpleasant future on earth. Launching my book ‘It has to be CLIMATE SUSTAINABILITY’ in Copenhagen a year ago I said;
"Climate change is a destiny determining phenomenon and all people need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities. But, half of the world's population remains under poverty and is being deprived of their rights towards the basic human needs. Meanwhile, the wasteful lifestyles and irresponsible behaviour of the rich and powerful continues to endanger the life of all humans on earth. A small privileged group continues to negotiate for a climate deal and they separately talk about the sustainability of the planet. By marginalising rest of the population in determining their own destinies, they have left us in destitution. A new world order is emerging, but the people are not involved in designing of it as well. A better world order needs to be created upon the mindful aspirations of the people; and should essentially be based on equitable opportunities for all to find peace, prosperity, sustainability, wellbeing and happiness. Then, it has to be climate sustainability!”

Whilst wishing COP16 in Cancun all the success, our future cannot be based on these negotiations alone and those negotiators. They will find another stop to party each year while delaying commitments. What matters is what rest of the world do to arrest our own sustainable futures. While negotiating climate change continues to be with those without a political will to radically commit to the challenge, we meanwhile need to find our own climate sustainability futures.

(send your comments to uchita@sltnet.lk
for more information on Cancun COP16 see OUTREACH Magazine @ http://www.stakeholderforum.org/sf/outreach/
for more Information on Climate Sustainability visit: http://www.climatesustainabilityplatform.blogspot.com/ and http://climatesustainability.blogspot.com/)

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