Team South Africa is at COP18 in Doha. And like with last year’s COP17, it includes South Africa’s biggest polluter, Eskom. The buses which drive delegates to the COP have a quaint South African touch: They are powered with fuel from Sasol’s gas-to-liquids Qatar plant.
Those two facts sum up the likely result of COP18, as it heads into its final stretch. There will not be a meaningful deal on climate mitigation (reduction of global greenhouse gases) or adaptation, and the world will creep another year closer to disaster. Fundamentally, none of the major players are seeking, pushing for, or even demanding the kind of global deal required to avoid four degrees Celsius rise in temperatures by the end of the decade. Even the unthinkable six degrees Celsius rise is now becoming a distinct possibility.
The irony is that while the World Bank, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, International Energy Agency and UNEP are all sounding major warnings on runaway climate change and increasing feedback mechanism — such as melting permafrost — the pace of the official negotiations has become glacial. And to who’s benefit is this? The Eskom’s, Sasol’s, oil and coal producing nations, and the elites in major industrialised and industrialising countries.
See for yourself. You can click on the links to download the respective reports:
- World Bank’s report on Why a 4 degree centigrade warmer world must be avoided (external link)
- PwC’s Low Carbon Economy Index 2012
- UNEP’s report regarding policy implications of warming permafrost
Make no mistake! Over the next two days, the world’s governments will seek to spin the end result of COP18. It will be “an advance on the Durban Protocol”, “nations are working towards a binding agreement in 2015”, “another milestone in the fight against climate change”. All of which is as much hot air from the tail pipe of one of the many sports cars that dot Qatar’s roads. Nothing coming out of COP18 will be remotely close to what is required by scientific evidence to avoid catastrophic climate change.
In fact, the end result of COP18 will be a licence to pollute for every greedy profiteer that has an oil well, gas field, or coal mine to exploit as fast as possible. Check Earthlife Africa’s concluding position on the COP18 – a shared point of view with Friends of the Earth International.