Thursday, 16 November 2006

November 15th - High Level Segment begins

November 15, 2006 saw the start of the high level segment. This important part of the meeting started with a speech from UN secretary general Kofi Annan. Proving that there still are still die hard climate change skeptics out there, Annan began by stressing that climate change was not science fiction.

Annan pointed out that that low emissions need not mean low growth. "So let there be no more denial. Let no one say we cannot afford to act. The Nairobi conference must send a clear, credible signal that the world’s political leaders take climate seriously. The question is not whether climate change is happening, but whether, in the face of this emergency we ourselves can change fast enough." Clearly, Anan in his speech was reprimanding countries like the US for not playing a pro-active role in the Kyoto Protocol.

And the US response...

Interestingly, soon after his speech the US delegation had organized a press conference, during which it proudly pronounced that it is trying its best to fight global warming. “The US policy is guided by a multi-dimensional approach. We believe in the power of partnerships. It is building partnerships with nations that have common goals. We firmly believe that public-private partnership is a means to fight climate change. We are happy that we are contributing to addressing climate change,” said Paula Dobriansky, under secretary for democracy and global affairs, the US government. “At COP 12 the US delegation is highlighting the efforts taken by the nation to flight climate change.

Adaptation is important here and the US has already financed such activities in many of the developing countries,” Dobriansky added.

When questioned about the lack of leadership from the US, Dobriansky responded by saying that the US is leading and climate change requires global efforts. All countries must be engaged in the effort. “Our recent election will continue to ensure that climate changer is an important issue. In terms of the congress, they are both people for and against the Kyoto protocol in the democrats and the republicans.

When Down To Earth questioned David Miliband, secretary of state, department for environment, food and rural affairs, UK about the UK’s stand on future commitment periods, he said that his country was willing to take up commitments depending on future circumstances.

Other highlights of the day were the presentation of the Stern report, which focuses on the impacts of climate change. Most delegates welcomed the report, which states that the world would incur huge financial losses if steps are not undertaken soon to contain global warming, and what economic opportunities did action on climate change present for different countries and sectors.

During another plenary session, ministers and heads of delegation from more than 35 nations reinstated their general position where action for fighting climate change was concerned.
Tomorrow’s plenaries would see the adoption of some draft decisions taken by SABTA, AWG, and SBI. Other important that would be discussed is the review of the protocol, which was to be done at this COP

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