A brief(ish) history of the UNFCCC and a peek into the future
by nathan thanki
People ask us “what’s going to come out of Doha” as if these negotiations were disconnected from prior negotiations on climate change. A clue is in the name: it is the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18). In order to know what to expect in Doha, we must therefore see it in context; this requires both a historical understanding and an understanding of the current political landscape. Developments at COP17 last year in Durban marked a new chapter in the unfolding saga of the climate regime, and we are still trying to decipher what the long term legal and political implications could be. This blog entry will look briefly at the main ‘big picture’ developments, attempt to unpack the outcome of Durban, and offer some outlook for Doha and beyond.
If you’re really rushed for time, my basic conclusion is that while advocates of climate justice might see some wins and many losses on a more technical level in Doha, in terms of the bigger picture we are dangerously close to seeing a double travesty of justice—with not enough being done to avert a climate catastrophe AND the responsibility for that inaction being handed off to the developing world, in spite of historical responsibilities and their need for poverty alleviation. But hopefully you will read on…
This blog was originally published on the Washington Spectator's website, check out their blog at http://washingtonspectator.org/index.php/Blog/latest.html
New Voices: On Climate Change Adaptation
New Voices is The Washington Spectator's blog series by guest writers under age 25. The series spotlights a diversity of perspectives from students, journalists, artists, and activists. Interested in writing for this series? E-mail inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Given this year of bizzare weather events in the U.S.—including Hurricane Sandy and a summer of deadly heat waves, wildfires and storms—many in the U.S. are finally opening their eyes to what scientists have been telling them for years: Climate change is real, but not only that, it is happening now.
A few shots from week one of the conference, and some proof that we did escape for long enough to see some of India.
Synthetic biology: What is it? Why does it matter? And why are some countries and NGOs pushing for this discussion at COP11?
by Mariana Calderon
On Thursday in Working Group 2, during a seemingly innocuous discussion on Operations of the Convention, a relatively heated discussion caught my attention–delegates were debating a topic buried under agenda item 6.2 of the COP: Synthetic Biology.
Item 6.2 actually deals with consideration of the “need to strengthen existing mechanisms of the convention,” but this bland title prefaces draft decisions on ways to improve the effectiveness of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA). Within the draft decisions are three proposed textual options for dealing with (or ignoring) the topic of synthetic biology as a new & emerging issue.
So what is synthetic biology?