This is a valuable contribution from my good friend David Newman, ISWA's Vice - President who participated at the Durban Climate Change event as ISWA representative. I think that it is really thoughtful and worth to read it carefully. Thnaks a lot David, your posts are highly appreciated not onlly by me but by my readers as well.
"The negotiation process on Climate Change which terminates today in Durban is both extraordinarily complex and equally boring. Delegates from 194 countries spend days working their way through stacks of paper to find fault with the wording of each sentence, opening excruciating discussions which have to end in compromise because the process can only go forward with 100% consensus.
Venezuela, in a session on CDM, remained silent as the Chair called the session to an end, only to stand up immediately afterwards to make an objection, thus hijacking the process. It is democracy gone mad.
The negotiating teams meet for about 18 hours a day, especially when their Ministers arrive to close off some of the issues. Yet each of them know that the wider process, that of approving a renewed Kyoto Protocol, is in any case momentarily blocked by vetoes from the USA and others.
Absurd alliances take place : the USA, Bolivia and Venezuela all argue against market mechanism rules, the USA because the rules are too restrictive, the latin Americans because they oppose markets !
In any case let's look at the wider issues
1) Investments in renewable energy have reached $240bn a year now. These will grow whether a new treaty is signed or not because nations (like Italy) have incentivated renewables. And their unit cost has fallen 40% over the last five years making them seriously competitive.
2) Investments are being made in sustainability in all sectors, from energy to water source protection to waste to agriculture, all in the direction of improving their environmental footprint. To take one example: while forest cover has fallen worldwide there has been a huge increase in tree cover and reclaimed lands from the Sahel desert areas of north Africa. A new green swathe has grown right across a belt reaching from Mauritania in the west to Sudan in the east which was unimaginable ten years ago.
3) Our waste industry. The protocol for the first time includes waste as a mitigation instrument for developed countries and this is a result which opens the waste sector to financing from mitigation funding in the future. While this is a victory for lobbying from ISWA and friendly countries, it also recognises the enormous CO2 reduction potential of the industry which until now had gone unrecognised. We must wait to see if the protocol enters into international law.
We will see what the future of Kyoto holds, it is not clear. But a process has been put in motion which will be hard to stop. And as the climate warms the urgency to reduce emissions will rise. Above all from those who emit most and ironically are worried about the lawsuits which will come from those who bear the consequences - read coal, petrol and the USA on one side, read victims of hurricanes, floods, drought and landslides on the other."