COP21 – Eavesdropping on an old family argument

I stayed up until 3am this morning, listening to every speech made on the new draft text delivered by the French Presidency and prepared during the first gruelling 10 days of discussions.

I wanted to hear, firsthand, the voices of all those sent to represent us, the people of the world.  A few voices stood out for me:

  • Australian Ambassador for the Environment, Peter Woolcott, disappointed but resilient on behalf of the Umbrella Group
  • Egypt speaking for Africa, the reality of the urgency facing the continent
  • Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) approving acknowledgement of 1.5°C target but calling for action on mitigation and adaptation to reach it.
  • Angola speaking for the LDCs, registering a proposal for unblocking political issues of finance and mitigation
  • Ramos Horta for East Timor, suggesting that Hollande will deserve a Nobel Peace Prize if he delivers a strong binding global agreement …

#COP21 - on the Paris MetroMany voices, as yet little clarity (at least for me), but a familiar rhythm. The Least Developed Countries Group (LDCs) siding together, the Like-Minded Group (LMDC) likewise, the G77 and China, the Environmental Integrity Group, the Agence intergouvernementale de la francophonie (intergovernmental agency for French- speaking countries) and the League of Arab States. Where was the Common Interest Group for All?

It felt, somehow, as though I was eavesdropping on an old family argument. Everyone taking part in the familiar dance, somewhat predictable and dictated by those fossilized relationships that sometimes plague family dynamics.

Honourable intentions on all sides, but somehow old patterns of self-protection and self-interest cloud the urgency of the discussion, prevent the collective from rising above itself, transcending differences to grasp the moment.

I hope a new spirit of enlightened self-interest will infuse today, a recognition of the need to protect the Common Good, that we are all in this together, what is good for you is ultimately good for me as we share one planet, one air, one water one fragile skin of atmosphere protecting the living Earth that sustains all life.

Today’s Eco was titled Midnight in Paris, and the Morning After.

I quote:” We need to life the veil of romantic mystery surrounding the draft Paris Agreement and the package of decisions. On this morning after, ministers have to look each other in the eye over breakfast, in the bright light of day, and remember they are now in this relationship for the long haul”…

I condense: “We urge all to accept the science. Existing INDCs are not enough to avoid dangerous warming. Simply asking for ambitious climate action is not enough. Finance needs to be mobilized and provided, not bracketed… Without enhanced action (on mitigation, adaptation and implementation) before 2020, the door to a 1.5°C pathway will close… Don’t confuse loss and damage with adaptation… Don’t forget emissions from international aviation and shipping… Protect Human rights, including those of indigenous peoples and ecosystems…”

“Give all of us the chance to survive”.

One thought on “COP21 – Eavesdropping on an old family argument

  1. Thank you Phillipa and NI and everyone getting in there, doing their utmost to get agreement over planetary survival. I’m joining actions, writing emails and letters, sending funds, and meditating, as are so many of us.
    Susan Shore

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