High-level and looking ahead

This is an incomplete post salvaged from the internet archive.

-by Sarah

As I write, the opening of the joint high-level segments of COP12 and COP/MOP2 are taking place, in the form of statements by high-profilers such as Minister Kibwana of Kenya (the president of COP), Mortiz Leuenberger (the president of the Swiss confederation), President of Kenya Mwai Kibaki , and Kofi Annan. Minister Kibwana began the morning with a speech that specifically mentioned the hope that youth have given him in the past week and a half, and a call to “encourage rather than vilify non-Kyoto parties.” “However small or big,” he said, “we have to step back from the blame game and take responsibility.” In terms of reaching the goal of global participation, this strikes me as sound advice, although I think it is important to push the issue of responsibility and equity. Mr. Leuenberger was not so afraid to lay blame, saying that non-parties to Kyoto should reconsider if they do not want to be accused of causing disaster. Through a carbon tax, which would be based on the polluter pays principle and fund adaptation measures, Leuenberger asserted that the world would make a giant leap in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Perhaps he is right, and I am inclined to think the tax is fair. Mr. Annan cited several risks of a rapidly changing climate, from disease to destruction of ecosystems to loss of physical land to live on (with sea level rise) and resulting conflicts of migration and competition for resources. I am not sure I think we need to have all of the scientific information regarding the earth’s systems and potential human-induced feedbacks or effects. We will never be sure of anything; the best thing, in my opinion, is to take this opportunity to try something else. If we want to survive, we need to do what we can where we can with what we can to change, and in this effort I think we have the potential to come together. When we look at changing as an opportunity, and from the point of view of survival, those of us in the North can change our view from one of sacrifice. This seems to be to be a major difference between developing and developed countries

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