COP17: Latest Updates

As usual with the UN’s climate change conferences (COP), the ongoing 17th edition is marred with discontent and wars of words between different parties defending their interests, which results in impasses and stagnancy.

Pa Ousman Jarju, the chairman of the least developed countries bloc, said wealthy countries lack political will to tackle climate change, not money. According to South Africa’s Business Day, he remarked: “They have spent trillions of dollars on Iraq, Afghanistan, and in Libya removing (Muammar) Gaddafi. A lot of money went into that. But for us climate change is the biggest threat."

Meanwhile, a new report highlights that the world’s biggest banks are also responsible for the increase in emissions. Still according to Business Day, German eco-group Urgewald released a report revealing that 75% of emissions come from the coal sector, which is financed by those banks. Coal financing rose from €15bn in 2005 to €33bn in 2010, according to the report. But since the report had surveyed only 93 large banks, the real figure could be double this amount.

The Mail & Guardian said America’s reputation has taken a blow at COP17. Leading U.S. environmentalists have complained to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that her negotiators in Durban risk portraying the country as an obstacle to the fight against climate change because of its “foot-dragging” on crucial issues.

Europe, on the other, wants faster action. According to China Daily, the EU climate negotiator Tomasz Chruszczow wants to see a Green Climate Fund at work as early as 2012. He said COP17 should produce a roadmap and deadline for “an ambitious, comprehensive and legally binding global framework” for climate action by all major economies. He said a board needs to be set up to run the fund, designed to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

The Occupy movement is also in Durban. Occupy COP17 describes itself as “a forum for those who wish to discuss and implement real and equitable solutions to climate change, with climate justice at the heart. It is open to all, operating on the principles of inclusiveness, openness, non-hierarchical organizing and consensus decision making.” Actions already planned include the Global Day of Action March on Saturday 3 December and International Food Sovereignty Day on Monday 5 December.

Image credit: Occupy COP17