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November 30 Dr. Chien’s Eco-report: UNFCCC COP19 II

UNFCCC COP19 convened by the United Nations this year was held in Warsaw, Poland on November 11-22. In previous conventions, it had been common to see more than thirty thousand people attending. In this year's COP19 convention, there was only about ten thousand people attending. The city holding the convention did not have enough venues for it, leading to a tremendous decrease in side events and a limit of people allowed to attend in each country.

  

The governments of various countries place different degrees of emphasis on climate change. For example, the Polish government sacked her Ministry of Environment at the same time of holding International Coal Summit, causing attending countries to question the host country. The Australian government announced they were planning to abolish carbon tax and stated they could not reach the projected amount of carbon reduction. The different attitudes toward climate change in the international community also caused the less enthusiastic atmosphere in this year's conference.

 

The road map for the Paris Conference in 2015 was decided in the conference with an aim to complete proposal of concrete carbon reduction measures after 2020 by that time. This year's conference has become a preparatory conference for the Paris Conference. There were two major discussions in the Warsaw Conference: one is how each country carries out carbon reduction thoroughly after year 2020 and the other is how to end various agreements from now to 2020.

 

In previous conferences, there were two major camps in the international arena. 1. Developing countries headed by China and India with a total of 77 countries (G77). 2. Developed countries headed by the USA and Europe. G77 thinks that climate change is caused by the increase of carbon emissions from developed countries after the Industrial Revolution and hopes that developed countries should compensate for the damage on moral grounds. The developed countries on the other hand think that countries in the world should work together to ameliorate climate change and not simply limit the amount of carbon emissions of each developed country.

 

Maybe not every country held the same opinion in the conference, but the common goal is to finish the preparation work for the Paris Conference in 2015. The current approach is different from the past legal binding coming from the top and reaching the bottom. Instead it is from the bottom to the top in that each country comes up with her own carbon reduction plan to work together wholeheartedly to make it possible to reach a consensus in the Paris Conference in 2015 to reach the goal of carbon reduction.