Today I arrived at work to see John Vidal’s excellent expose on the complex punctuation, backroom power games, bureaucracy and language of the UN’s climate change negotiations in the Guardian Weekend left open on my desk. Back in London, the craziness of Barcelona faded away all too quickly as I tried to get in a bit of Christmas shopping, attack my overflowing inbox and actually do a bit of laundry but John’s words brought that strange world of negotiations rushing back: the endless hours in conference centres on remote outskirts of cities, the harried negotiators, the secret meetings.
What are my final thoughts ahead of Copenhagen? What was the outcome of these negotiations? I find it difficult to put into words. Little progress appears to have been made, and the divide between developed and developing countries only seems to have grown wider. Trust gaps, power struggles and incomprehensible texts all still exist. The gap is just as wide, only now we have less time to cross it.
In a more poignant vein, we arrived back in London to receive news that El Salvador, a country where we work has been devastated by Hurricane Ida. We had supported Dr. Angel Ibarra, director of El Salvador’s largest environmental organisation to come to the talks at UNFCCC to voice the concerns of his country. Throughout the negotiations he and I spoke often of how El Salvador is currently being affected by climate change and what the people are doing to try and cope.
Since one of the predicted effects of climate change is an increase in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, it was ironic for him to arrive home to hear news of the devastation a similar storm has wreaked across El Salvador - highlighting how vulnerable these areas already are.
We were relieved to hear he arrived home safe, but this experience has brought home to me even more the immediacy of the threat we’re already facing, and the hundreds, if not thousands of people each year who are already dying because of changes brought about by climate change. If you haven’t done so already, please send a message telling your MP to Just Add Water to the climate change negotiations. And if you’re in London, think about attending The Wave on December 5th, Lets show our leaders that countries like El Salvador matter and that we won’t accept inaction when our future is at stake.
Progressio Campaign's Officer