Hearting Kyoto in Durban
Vernon Rive . 8/12/2011 12:00:00 a.m.
Youth delegations from around the globe have converged on Durban in the last couple of weeks to add their bodies, voices and laptops to the crowded NGO space looking to influence the outcome of the climate talks.
Earlier in the week, I spoke with Emma Moon and David Tong from the
New Zealand Youth Delegation – a group of 10 students of law, environmental science, international relations, music, development studies and politics. Some of that chat is in the video below.
Like other youth delegations here at COP17, the New Zealand group has thrown itself into a range of activities – meeting with their South African counterparts and other members of the ‘YOUNGO’ community, delivering an ‘intervention’ at a working group on the Kyoto Protocol, attending side events, and catching up with the New Zealand Government delegation on a fairly regular basis.
And, of course, promoting the “I heart Kyoto” message as much as they can.
On Tuesday, the NZ group issued a fairly bold press release. It began thus:
"The New Zealand Government is jeopardising its good name in international negotiations at this fortnight's United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban. It has been identified as one of a small number of States stalling progress in forming an international climate agreement. Other parties have privately condemned its conduct and predict it could risk the possibility of a credible outcome."
..and continues for 2 pages in a similar vein.
I asked New Zealand’s Climate Change Negotiations Minister Tim Groser for his thoughts on the statement. The Minister is not especially known for pulling his punches on this kind of thing. He didn’t disappoint.
“I didn’t come here to negotiate with 10 young New Zealanders. What they’ve unfortunately bought without realizing it is the whole drum beat on KP, KP, KP, as if somehow they don’t understand that a deal that locks in only 15% of emissions is actually an insult to New Zealand.”
Groser’s point on the complete inadequacy of a Kyoto Part II which covers only 15% of emissions is undoubtedly on the money. And the simple messaging around a second Kyoto commitment period being adopted by the Youth Delegation as well as many NGOs here in Durban is an easy target for criticism.
His comments do a slight disservice to the youth movement however. They understand that Kyoto II without China, the States and India is not enough. Perhaps their messaging could be a little more sophisticated. But their point, as far as I can tell, is that the instrument that is currently the only legally binding agreement on emissions reductions is very much worth retaining for another round, on the way to the bigger goal of a comprehensive agreement involving all of the main players.
That is actually not too far from New Zealand’s position here in Durban. But I'm not expecting to see the Minister in an ‘I heart Kyoto’ T-shirt any time soon.
By Vernon Rive on 8/12/2011 12:00:00 a.m. | Comments (1) | Print |