Climate change blogs
Millions of people around the world, including climate change negotiators, follow the domestic political scene in the US, and most of them have by now realized the current Administration’s predicament of facing an antagonistic Congress that will essentially block everything they try to do, domestically, and certainly internationally.
I have been attending a meeting of around forty Archbishops and Bishops from all over Asia for several days now at Assumption University on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand surrounded by flood waters approaching the country’s low-lying capital city.
Mozambique is a country plagued with a history of floods and poverty. Lying on the south east coast of Africa, its coastline spans over 2700km with its lowest point level to the Indian Ocean. So it needs to be prepared for sea-level rises caused by climate change.
“For developing countries in general and least developed countries in particular, we can't afford to support big delegations”, said Sumaya Zakieldeen from Sudan’s national climate change negotiation team. “The coming period of negotiation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is going to be extremely ...important as it is going to shape the fate of climate change and accordingly the fate of the most vulnerable to adverse impacts... It will be exceptionally important to be there to play our assigned roles on behalf of our people and finish what we started.”
The Caribbean, which has made only a minor contribution to global climate change, will be on the front line of the risk and damage it will cause. With more hurricanes and more erratic rainfall patterns, rising temperatures and sea levels, and higher costs of imported fuels, the region’s economy and environment are certain to suffer. The damage has the potential to plunge the region into permanent recession, with changing rainfall patterns causing ruin for small farmers, frequent floods destroying some towns, and coral reefs disappearing. An international conference held in June in London considered what needs to be done, who needs to be doing it and who should be paying for it.
Climate change negotiators are still meeting this week in Bonn to try and find a way forward on, amongst many other subjects, climate change mitigation, adaptation and finance. Sources of ‘innovative’ finance, such as taxes on international transport, have been proposed. Might these provide a way to break the deadlock on finance and prove to be sources of significant and stable financing to address the impacts of climate change?
As global leaders look towards another round of climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa this December, the reality is that the poorest and most vulnerable populations in both developed and developing countries are already bearing the costs of climate change.
It's not always a great idea to acknowledge that bad things can create opportunities – but they can. Bad things cause suffering and tragedy, but they can also destabilise the status quo, open space for new discussions, and give an impetus to groups looking for positive change.
Programmes which transfer money directly to the poor help them adapt to climate change. That´s what I´m suggesting in a new briefing paper to be presented at the upcoming conference on ‘Social Protection for Social Justice’, will be held at the Centre for Social Protection in Brighton between the 13th and 15th of April.
In our field visit to Kundar Para village of Gaibandha District, Joy Guillemot from the World Health Organization asked local women to share impacts of floods on their health and that of their children. The group of around 25 women all started replying simultaneously, surprising me and the other observers with their strong feelings!