United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (photo via flickr)
Hey climate activists, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wants to know what you think of a little trip South Africa. Why? Because he doesn't think that world leaders will agree on a deal at the next U.N. conference on climate change, scheduled for late November in Mexico. South Africa would be the next Conference of the Parties, one year from the meeting in Cancun.The Cancun meeting took on increased importance after world leaders failed to reach a legally binding deal at the U.N. summit in Copenhagen last December. The Kyoto Protocol, which requires its signatories to reduce emissions and set up the funding of renewable energy project and some forest preservation, expires in 2012. The U.S., of course, did not ratify Kyoto.
Said Ban about the process moving forward:
"We need to be practical and realistic. It may be the case that we may not be able to have that comprehensive binding agreement in Cancun... "On the basis of these sectoral areas (funding for mitigation and reforestation), we will try to build so that we will be able to move ahead in a more comprehensive way. First and foremost we must bridge the gap of trust between developed and developing countries."
There are too many disagreements to list here, but the headliner is who should bear the burden of reducing emissions: historical big emitters or developing countries. At Copenhagen, many countries agreed to the Copenhagen Accord, which was a non-binding agreement that called on countries to voluntarily reduce emissions. It's goal was to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit).
The Nobel prize winning IPCC says that the world must peak emissions by 2015 and then dramatically decrease them right after, getting as close to zero as possible for 2050. But while Moscow is engulfed in smoke and Greenland glaciers are calving huge chunks of ice, world leaders are twiddling their thumbs, choosing to lower expectations and wait for next year in South Africa. I suggest looking into your travel plans for South Africa now. They're going to need to hear our voices.