Friday, November 27, 2009

Building COP15

COP?? What’s it? Is it cost of

production? Is it Coefficient of performance? Yes, you’re right as an MBA Graduate and a techie guy. But, an energy and environment graduate gazes it with a different perspective and comes up with a diverse idea saying that it is something related to climate change talks, Copenhagen, and so on.. Yes, it’s 15th Conference of Parties of UNFCCC. Parties? It’s not a get-to-gather or some festivity. Parties are the signatory nations to the convention. COP15 which is awaited for is one of the important proceedings in the milestones of Climate change since Berlin Mandate.

While we invariably speak about environment, pollution, scarce rainfall, etc, there is something going to happen to our planet earth in a long run, as a result of Copenhagen talks which could alter the scope and scale of efforts towards Climate Change. Denmark is about to host the conference during 7th to 18th of December ‘09 and the countdown has already begun.

How do you think it would be? Something like a congregation? Yes, of course, a congregation of different culture, language, and ethnic background but with a common objective. Though, the parties have a commonality, they have diverse responsibilities in proportion to the emissions they have made so far, an acute felony to our planet Earth which is ironically stated in the convention as “Common but differentiated responsibilities”.

Do you think, the drive behind the mass gathering would be purely concerned towards environment? I don’t think so. Apart from the civil societies, few nations are more rapt to make their pitch for their own economic development and industrialisation rather having an intention to save the environment. Such skewed facts craft suspicions about the success of the conference too.

What ever it may be, let’s not jump our feet to make further comments on it, until a conclusion is drawn out of it. Rather, I’ll make it more interesting for you in a way sharing few things about the pre-conference activities and events happening around the globe which is elegantly called as “Road to Copenhagen”. In other words, let’s see behind the Scenes – the Making of the Conference.

Let’s commence with an important occasion, “World Environment Day” celebrated on 5th of June ’09. This occasion was a platform for select group who took exceptional feats, high profile expeditions and other innovative acts of environmental activism to demonstrate their commitment and to raise awareness for one simple idea: Your planet needs You! Unite to Combat Climate Change.

Climate heroes are people who take a special initiative, who go beyond the normal responsibilities that we have, who pioneer with unusual initiatives and ideas. They show the kind of commitment, enthusiasm and understanding of how important it is that we all become heroes in order to address climate change,”

To name a few, Roz Savage who is known for her inspirational solo row across the Atlantic Ocean and who now row across the Pacific Ocean and walk from London to Copenhagen with the environmental message to take action on CO2 levels by inspiring people to walk more and drive less. Her initiative, called Pull Together, calls upon her supporters around the world to Pull Together and match her 10,000 oar strokes each day with 10,000 steps. In October, Roz and thousands of supporters assembled at Big Ben in London and, over a period of six weeks, march more than 600 miles to Copenhagen to address the conference delegates. At this time, she will deliver the results of the initiative, essentially a walking petition, as a symbol of commitment to taking immediate, aggressive action to reduce global CO2 levels.

David de Rothschild and a cherry-picked crew of adventurers, thinkers and artists set sail approximately 10,000 nautical miles across the Pacific. The boat, called Plastiki, is a distinctive, one-of-a-kind 60-foot (20m) catamaran made out of reclaimed plastic bottles, srPET plastic and recycled waste products. Their mission: to beat waste, raise awareness on the issues facing our planet and be the catalyst to activate change by bringing smart sustainable solutions to the forefront. The voyage sails through a number of exciting, challenging and environmentally-sensitive regions, including the ominously named Great Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch, an area six times the size of England where plastic outweighs plankton by 6 to 1 – essentially, the world’s largest waste dump.

Project Kaisei consists of a team of innovators, ocean lovers, sailors, scientists, sports enthusiasts and environmentalists who have come together with a common purpose: to study how to capture plastic waste in the ocean, detoxify, and recycle it into diesel fuel. Every year over 60 billion tons of plastic are produced, much of it for one-time use and less than five percent of the world’s plastics are recycled. National Geographic estimates that over 85 million plastic bottles are used every three minutes. Currently, there are no proposed solutions to resolve the issue of plastics in the oceans.

Charles and Sho Scott (8 years old) This father-son pair are riding connected bikes from Cape Souya in northern Japan to Kyushu in the south, or 2,900 miles (4,700 km), as a campaign to raise awareness on climate change and in support of UN efforts to seal a deal on a climate treaty in Copenhagen in December. Entitled “United to Combat Climate Change—Ride Japan”, the ride passes through 11 of the World’s Cultural Heritage sites along the way. The two-month journey also raise funds for tree-planting efforts with the target of seven billion trees planted by the end of 2009, or one for each person on the planet.

The place which now looks like Moon-base Alpha, will be transformed into 38 functioning meeting rooms to host 2500 meetings over the two-week conference. While negotiators attempt to reach a new climate deal at COP15 in the Bella Centre, people from all over the world will debate how to fight climate change at Klimaforum09 in the heart of Copenhagen.

Thinking about climate change? Don’t keep it to yourself! Klimaforum09, new web-based initiative allows people from the entire world to share their thoughts on climate change up to COP15. Now it is possible to read many of the thoughts passing through people’s minds on the issue of climate change and add your own personal thoughts to the collection of climate thoughts.

Public transport is the main element in the transport plan for COP15, because it’s much more CO2-friendly than taxis and other cars. Shuttle busses will run from the conference venue to the city centre every five to ten minutes and to Copenhagen Airport slightly less frequently, from 7 am to 11 pm, right from December 6 to December 19. Delegates at COP15 can move around in Copenhagen with a clear, green conscience on bicycles, public transport and in cars fuelled by the first litres of second-generation bio-ethanol produced in Denmark.

The COP15 logo: Visualising the climate challenge. The logo chosen for COP15 is created by a small design duo, who won the popular COP15 logo design competition from an overwhelming 269 competition entries. The logo's network of blue lines suggests how complex the climate question is, and how it affects and involves almost all things on this planet

The most interesting thing is that the University of Copenhagen lights the way to a CO2-neutral future with new building. What is going to happen in Copenhagen in December is not just talk, but taking concrete action to combat climate change in Denmark – this house portrays that.

Denmark evens out the bumps on the way to COP15 visas. Anyone who has ever struggled with visa forms and deadlines will understand what a huge task it is to make sure that the many COP15 delegates who need a Danish visa receive one in time.

COP15 cycling tour from Kyoto to Copenhagen. Around 200 bicyclists waited outside the Japanese Embassy in Copenhagen on sunny June 14 for the last stage of the cycling tour from Kyoto to Copenhagen to kick off. Since the tour began in Tokyo on May 23, more than 3000 people have joined it on eight routes through neon-lit metropolises to small fishing villages all over Japan.

Now, let’s draw closer and guess what India would propose and expect out of this Conference. India is a country which is and will continue to be severely impacted by Climate Change precisely at a time when it is confronted with huge development imperatives. We would, therefore, expect that the Copenhagen outcome not only provides us with the space we require for accelerated social and economic development, in order to eradicate widespread poverty, but also create a global regime which is supportive of our national endeavours for ecologically sustainable development.

India’s focus would be mainly on

MITIGATION- Enhanced action on reducing GHG emissions

ADAPTION- Capacity building to meet the consequences of climate change

FINANCE- Objectives supported by sufficient financial resources

TECHNOLOGY- Technology transfers from developed nations

Still, few queries that crop up to each one of us are: What are India’s expectations with regard to the Copenhagen outcome? How can an accord be possible, if India and other major emitters refuse to accept responsibility in this regard? Would India be ready to accept a compromise along these lines?

Stay tuned with the happenings and hope for the best!

- Avinash Vijayarangam

MBA E&E (09-11)

1 comment:

Prakash Rao said...

Dear Avinash,

This is a very useful update. Please continue to write on similar lines on the progress of the COP 15 talks as they unfold.

Prakash Rao

HOD - E and E