Numsa and climate change

South Africa hosted Conference of Parties number 17 (CoP17) under the watchful eye of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change on from 28 November to 9 December 2011.

For the last 17 years, Parties have being trying to find solution to save mother earth. For man to survive, he must take care of the environment as if the environment is part of his body because if the environment is destroyed, man will also be destroyed or die.

The 18th century industrial revolution brought development in the world, which development assisted man to manage his live better, e.g. transport, communication and in the production of other human needs.

These developments did not come cheap. Capitalists from the Northern countries could not be satisfied by what they were getting from their countries and they began exploring foreign territories, in the east and in the south in search of more riches. African countries were not only invaded but worst of all were colonised by these imperialists.

Minerals which were discovered in Africa were transported back to Europe by means of sea routes of air. Firstly, for the minerals to be extracted from the belly of the earth, they need heavy machinery. To operate the machinery, they need gasoline or electricity.

These sources are generated by either burning coal of oil (fossil fuel). These energy sources when burned releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and the atmosphere can tolerate a certain level of these carbon dioxide (not more than 450 parts per million).

Because capitalists produce more than human needs. More carbon dioxide is released to the atmosphere and if not controlled, will damage the ozone layer and nature will never be able to control the climate and the climate system breaks down irreparably and catastrophically, but because man is producing above his needs, the required level of parts per million will be reached in the near future and man will not be able to survive.

We are beginning to experience some of the catastrophes in other parts of the globe. Drought in Africa, heavy and uncontrollable storms and many more unusual happenings in the world and most of these catastrophes are weather related.

Citizens of the world came together in Rio Earth Summit, Brazil in 1982 to discuss challenges related to the environment.

Policies developed during the summit led to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change facilitating negotiations amongst parties in trying to find a solution to challenges faced by mother Earth.

There were many conferences which were held and their aim was to try and find a binding agreement which will force all the countries, especially the developed countries to reduce emission by a certain percentage over a period of time. To date, 17 Conferences of Parties were held.

The last one was in Durban South Africa in 2011. Of the 17 conferences, the most important was the 1997 conference held in Kyoto. The conference produced a binding climate agreement called the Kyoto protocol.

The agreement imposed economy-wide emissions reduction obligation on about 40 Annex 1(developed) countries of the North. Up until 2012, none of the countries of the North are willing to reduce carbon emission hence confused weather patens we are experiencing.

The other piece of an agreement was in Copenhagen in 2009 during the CoP15 called Copenhagen Accord. The problem with the accord is that it has no commitment targets on emission and is voluntary.

COP17 in Durban in 2011 was more on saving the Kyoto protocol than trying to get the big carbon dioxide emitter agreeing on the new agreement. America and China, who contribute more than any other country in the world in carbon emission, were not willing to come to the party.

Until the last day of the negotiations, developed countries wanted more time to think on whether they commit themselves to the second commitment period or not. The negotiations were extended by two more days, begging the countries to agree on the second commitment.

The outcome of Durban CoP17

The CoP17 established an Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban platform for Enhanced Action.

It is clear that the Durban conference failed to reach an agreement hence the establishment of an Ad Hoc Working Group. The task of the group is facilitated and negotiated an agreement with Party members. Also to develop a proposed binding agreement which Party members must adopt in 2015. If the binding agreement is adopted by the CoP21 in 2015, it will only be implemented in 2020.

What does this mean?

Between now and 2020 there exist no binding agreement only Parties who volunteer to reduce emissions can do that. The Planet is then exposed to the cruelty of capitalist as they will want to make more profit in the next 8 years.

This therefore means that Numsa members must run workshops to familiarised themselves with the issues of climate change in order to be able to defend Mother Earth.


Numsa News No 1