Another year, another round of climate talks. It’s the 19th Conference of Parties to the UN Climate Convention and we’re back in Poland, the scene of an almost complete non-event in 2008, the year before Copenhagen.
It’s Eastern Europe’s turn to host another meeting, and nobody else was prepared to put their hand up, so we’re back in the land of coal, in the country that has rallied their biggest coal companies to sponsor the conference, and which is dragging the whole of the EU down to their level as they refuse to accept stronger targets. I suspect #coaland will be a well-used hashtag by the end of this.
Usually when you come to a meeting like this, the town is full of banners and signs that a climate meeting is being hosted, but there’s not much sign of it here in Warsaw, except this rather confusing industry advertisement at the airport.
Next weekend there’s a World Coal Association conference in town, being addressed by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christian Figueres, who turned down a talk to youth at the Powershift conference in favour of talking with Big Coal. She’s assured them it’s because she wants to “talk frankly” – let’s hope she does.
Last month the Polish hosts were caught posting a news piece heralding the melting of the Arctic as a new opportunity to explore for yet more fossil fuels. While The YesMen (in a specacular own-goal, in my opinion) tried to claim the piece as their own, it was indeed the Polish Government’s own work. Given this government is chairing the talks, it’s not looking terribly hopeful.
Meanwhile in the Philippines, Cyclone Haiyan, the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded, has caused a terrible loss of life that’s still being counted – and major damage. With winds at 195mph as it made landfall, it beat the 1969 record, according to Jeff Masters’ blog. Sea surface temperatures were up to 1.5degC above normal.
What role will the science have in these talks? Will the IPCC’s recent working group 1 conclusions make a difference? Figueres has already confirmed the IPCC’s carbon budget figures will not be on the agenda. Continue reading “Poland or Coaland? Climate talks about to begin in Warsaw”