With rich countries prematurely sending out word that they are likely to give up on an international climate treaty in Durban, some concerned citizens, activists, and politicians from the world’s most climate-change-vulnerable nations are considering “occupying” Durban, the city in South Africa where the climate negotiations are taking place.
“Diplomats from some developing countries may ‘occupy’ the UN climate negotiations that begin on Monday in Durban by staging sit-ins and boycotts over the lack of urgency in the talks,” The Guardian reports.
“The move follows a call by the former president of Costa Rica for vulnerable countries to refuse to leave the talks until ‘substantial’ progress has been made.”
Costa Rican president José María Figueres says:
“I have called on all vulnerable countries to ‘occupy’ Durban. We need an expression of solidarity by the delegations of those countries that are most affected by climate change, who go from one meeting to the next without getting responses on the issues that need to be dealt with.
“We went to Copenhagen [in 2009] with the illusion we could reach an equitable agreement. We went to Cancún [in 2009] where we saw slight but not sufficient progress. Frustration is now deep and building. Now we hear that we will need more conferences. Sometime we have to get serious. We should be going to Durban with the firm conviction that we do not come back until we have made substantial advances.”
It is unclear where this all will go. Will they really occupy Durban? Will there be legal or international trade consequences if they do? If an Occupy Durban or Occupy Climate Change movement does start, how big will it get?
I, for one, hope that it will start, will grow fast, and will be big. It’s time we stop putting off serious climate change that is costing and is going to cost the lives of millions and a decent quality of life for billions.
“The climate change process is too crucial to the survival of humanity and the dignity of each of us, it is sad to see some parties using it just as a toy in a promotional agenda,” Jorge Argüello, chair of the powerful G77 and China coalition of 131 countries, said. “The African leaders have expressed in different fora that Durban can not become the grave of the Kyoto Protocol, and we are completely supportive of that ambition.”
“Climate change caused over 300,000 additional deaths last year. We the vulnerable countries suffer the most for our limited coping capacities,” Sheik Hasina, the prime minister of Bangladesh, said. “Bangladesh and other vulnerable countries cannot wait for international response to climate causes … we are implementing 134 climate change adaptation and mitigation action plans.”