"I care" is the slogan of CoP19 at Warsaw. With this symbol, Poland wants to tell the world that it cares for climate change. But the facts are otherwise. Next to the biggest climate conference, Poland is also hosting the biggest coal conference in Warsw. That’s symbolic of the position that Poland has taken in climate negotiations. But Poland is not the only problem. Every developed country is now going back on its past commitments.
Japan had pledged to reduce its emissions by 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. Now, it wants to increase its emissions by 3% above 1990 levels by 2020. The excuse: it has shut down its nuclear power plants post-Fukushima and wants to replace nuclear with coal.
Australia had said that it would reduce its emissions by up to 25% with respect to 2000 levels by 2020 if countries like India and China pledge mitigation actions on climate change. Well, India and China have put forward their commitments, but now Australia wants to reduce its emissions by only 5%.
EU the so-called leader of climate action is now going back on its past commitments. Under the Cancun agreement, EU had agreed to reduce its emissions by 20-30% below 1990 levels by 2020. It has already met the 20% target, but is not willing to raise its ambition. In fact, there are signs that even Germany is planning to reduce its ambition and scale down energiewende.
And, the US, as usual, has decided to not do much and keep its target of reducing emissions between 0-3% below 1990 levels by 2020.
With such drastic fall-back in ambition by developed countries, developing countries like India, Brazil and China have now taken a much more rigid stand. The end result is that nothing is moving here at Warsaw.
On the first day of the Warsaw conference, the Philippines made an impassionate speech about Typhoon Haiyan. There was a three minutes silence with some delegates joining the Filipino delegates in shedding tears for the loss of lives that occurred during the typhoon.
But once the speeches are over, everything is back to the business-as-usual.
"Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. Its awful."