It’s crunch time in Bangkok
Published 28th September 2009 - 3 comments - 1116 views -
The UN climate talks starting today in Bangkok are the penultimate negotiation session before the Copenhagen’s summit, in December.
Obama, do something!
These two-week talks will provide a stronger picture of whether the United States are willing, or not, to step up and provide the political momentum desperately needed to overcome the current stalemate in negotiations.
Two key sticking points remain. First, the emissions reductions developed countries are willing to deliver – current commitments are around 15% instead of the science-based 40% reductions on 1990 levels by 2020. Second, the money they will put on the table for developing countries to both adapt to the impacts of climate change and develop in a sustainable way.
Recent announcements by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the European Union on climate financing, and Japan and China’s stronger language last week on emissions reductions and finance, hopefully will put extra pressure on the US to step up its game.
Let’s now look at the human side of the story, by taking, as an example, the region where the negotiations are happening.
The human cost of climate change in South-East Asia
We’ve just seen it the Philippines: floods have killed at least 86 people, some 80% of Manila is said to be under water, with 435,000 people displaced, the BBC reports today.
South-East Asia is one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to climate change due to its long coastlines, high concentration of population and economic activity in coastal areas, and heavy reliance on agriculture, natural resources and forestry.
Extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, floods and tropical cyclones have increased in frequency and intensity in recent decades in this region, according to the United Nations. This is exacerbating water shortages, hampering agricultural production and threatening food security, causing forest fires and coastal degradation, and increasing health risks.
“Don't put all your eggs in one basket”, a short film produced by development agency Oxfam, shows how organic rice farmers in Yasothorn province, Northeastern Thailand, adapt to climate change by using diversified crops and irrigation.
As part of the Copenhagen deal, it is vital rich countries provide money to help developing nations adapt to the devastating effects global warming is having on their people.
The Asian Development Bank estimates that for Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam as a whole, the cost of adaptation for the agriculture and coastal zones (mainly for the construction of sea walls and development of drought and heat-resistant crops) will be about US $5 billion per year by 2020 on average.
About the author
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