Friday, 8 November 2013

Next UN global warming jamboree to begin in Warsaw amid signs of some real progress

“If you look at the emissions that the Kyoto Protocol has cut in Europe, it is around 200m tonnes of CO2 a year, and we are leaders? In the US, which has half the population, they have reductions from the switch to shale gas of 500m tonnes a year. We have a tendency to say we are leaders, but we are not”

Martin Korolec
President of the COP19, Polish Minister of Environment

Another UN global warming mega jamboree, COP19, is opening next week in Warsaw bringing together 40,000 attendees. All previous meetings have been useless, but this time there are some signs of real progress:

Tony Abbott's new government has will not send its environment minister to Warsaw:

It is official: Australia’s new government denies global warming.  The Coalition Government will not send its environment minister to the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which will kick off  in Warsaw, Poland from 11-22 November 2013.

Climate observers said this will send a wrong signal of Australia walking away from its commitment on climate action and it may set a precedent for other countries to backslide.

Indeed, one can only hope that Australia sets an example here. Heads of state and government of the major countries have already long ago dropped the COPs from their agenda. Why should the ministers of environment waste their time on these completely useless gatherings? There are more than enough of real environmental problems to keep them busy for years.

For those still in attendance, the President of the COP19, Polish Minister of Environment Marcin Korolec, may have something meaningful to offer:

Marcin Korolec prides himself on not being like other politicians. Indeed, he prides himself on not being a politician at all, defining himself as a civil servant. Yet he is Poland's environment minister and he has accordingly been masterminding Poland's preparations to host international climate talks that begin in Warsaw next week.
He therefore has the same role as Connie Hedegaard in the 2009 climate talks, when, as Denmark's minister for climate and energy, she presided over the Copenhagen climate change summit. For her, it was the prelude to becoming the European commissioner for climate action.
It is a safe bet to say that Korolec will not be pursuing the same career trajectory. Indeed, environmental campaigners are horrified at Korolec's influence over this year's climate-change talks. They see him as the chief obstacle to the European Union adopting a more ambitious approach to climate change.
In March 2012, it was Korolec who exercised Poland's veto at a meeting of the EU's council of environment ministers preventing adoption of a low-carbon roadmap. Poland objected to the long-term emission-reduction milestones suggested.
Afterwards he told Polish journalists: “The problem of the EU environment ministers is that they rarely discuss issues carefully and in detail, considering the wide range of opinions and positions.” He said his experience as a civil servant in an economics ministry gave him a different understanding.

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