Weekly Commentaries

This is Sunday Chronicle's weekly commentaries on various issues of interest affecting the country. All individual commentators are done by elite Papua New Guineans from diverse educational backgrounds.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Climate Talk

China 'hijacked\' climate summit as island nations sink

LET me first welcome you all into the near year, 2010. My sincere apologies to all the faithful readers who have missed this column during the Christmas break leading up to the New Year period.

In this first edition of 'Climate Talk' for the year, I wish you all happy reading and urge you to fully inform yourself of the earth's climate change.

I am sure like me some of you have gone to your home provinces or traveled elsewhere for a well deserved Christmas vacation from all the bright city lights, disturbing noises and pollutions for the city folks, work pressure, shopping, flown out of the country as tourist or on business trips away from usual work places - whatever the reason is, when you return I guess you will be physically and mentally prepared to do better and venture into new and greater things in life in the new year.

My journey took me deep into the Amazon Bay. Definitely not in Brazil where you'll find the world's largest untouched rainforest with very rare animal and plant species. I am referring to little known costal villages and island atolls in the Abau District of Central Province going past Domara Coast and reaching the borders of Milne Bay Province.  

Here you will see marine life at its best display, untouched rainforest and fresh garden foods are in abundance with cool breeze making your stay so much pleasant.   

I enjoyed all that the nature had to offer but still at the back of my mind one thing that kept bothering me was the question; will the environment still be conducive within the next decade for all that the nature had to offer including great life in the beautiful villages and Island atolls along the coast?
The answer is simply a big 'NO'.

As expected, I also noticed with amazement the great physical change in the landscape. Within a time frame of about three years I was away, the reefs just few meters down the shore were no longer any closer and completely out of sight. They were few more meters much below sea level and the marine life that was there was no longer there.

The great white sandy beaches that we used to enjoy were also no longer there and were all covered by sea. 
The ocean had moved itself to where the houses were and leveled with some of the food gardens.

For a while I was stunned by the way the landscape had changed in a much amazing way over a shorter period of time. And remember this is just what happened in villages and atolls at the far end of the Abau District and it is the same all around the costal and low laying areas throughout PNG. In some places such as Mortlock Island, Tasman, Nuguria and Carterets the magnitude in which the sea has swallowed these islands at a faster rate is frightening.  

Worst of all, world leaders' first attempts to come up with a climate deal in Copenhagen failed.
This clearly indicates the super powers are not putting their priorities on the world's irregular weather pattern and climate changes and the effects are already on the most vulnerable low lying Island nations and livelihoods of the people who live there. 

All the hard work by 192 countries to reach some sort of agreement in Denmark came to nothing. It's back to the drawing board.

This is a sad scenario the world had had to face in the  most important and first major climate talks that took place from the 7th  to 18th   December, 2009 in Copenhagen.

China has to be blamed for hijacking the Copenhagen summit by blocking a legally-binding treaty.  It also blocked an agreement on reduction in global emission. Yet these were bullying and no care attitude portrayed by one of the world's super economies and  biggest carbon polluter.

There was a chaotic process dogged by procedural games instead of coming to a meaningful compromise. Preparations by more than 190 countries around the world including Papua New Guinea came to nothing. And China obviously had to tell the rest of the world, especially the smaller island states her actions for not supporting a legally- binding climate deal.

The reason is simply, China doesn't want to be at the forefront carrying the burdens of world's cry for reduced carbon emission.

However, Asian nations including China on the 19th December, 2009 welcomed the provisional climate change deal struck by the major powers at the Copenhagen submit, saying it paved the way for consensus over carbon emission cuts.  

The Copenhagen Accord, passed on a Saturday after two weeks of frantic negotiations, was condemned elsewhere as a backdoor deal that violated UN democracy, excluded the poor and doomed the world to disastrous climate change.

Without the feedback from smaller island nations, China was first to welcome the outcome of the talks, despite leaders at the summit failing to set targets to the carbon emissions blamed for global warming.
This accord set a goal of jointly mobilizing US$100 billion for developing nations by 2020.

Meanwhile the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon appeared for world powers to make a new effort to secure a legally binding climate deal next year amid new diplomatic wrangling over the failure of the Copengahen summit.

China however hit back at Britain together with other developing nations over claims that Beijing had 'hijacked' the negotiations while Brazil's president blamed Barack Obama for the accord.

The accord was a mere last minute attempt to signal to the world saying Copengahen talk was important yet the 192-nation summit came to nothing.

With scientists warning of the growing threat of droughts, floods, storms and rising sea levels, coastal low lying areas and island atolls of PNG will continue to sink until next the round of talks by world leaders to limit global warming.

For an Environmentally friendly chat, Derrick ban be contacted on the following Email: rderrickkii@yahoo.com.au


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