Monday 14 September 2009

Tony Juniper looking forward to Copenhagen?

I'm interviewing a few people for my book at the moment, perhaps this is why I'm not getting much put up on this blog! Here is an extract from the interview I did with Tony Juniper last month. I asked him if he is going to Copenhagen this December, what his aims are and what he thinks might happen.
I’m going to watch, that will be my main aim, find out what happened and to have that as an important piece of information. It is always best to be there I find. I mean if you look at the media coverage it is inevitable that the stuff that comes out the day after the thing finishes is always instructive in that you look at 10 articles and you’ll get 10 completely different versions of what happened depending on who the journalist spoke to just as the meeting was closing. Did they speak to Eva De Burgh, the head of Greenpeace, the Americans, the EU or the Chinese? You get a different version from all of them... absolute success, complete disaster, mixed kind of wins, no wins at all. You have to be there really to form your own views because the media... it’s too complicated for a news story, that’s part of the trouble.
But, what’s going to happen there? I don’t know. The countries are still divided, there does not seem to be a lot of sweetness and light between different blocks, the Africans and the Europeans and the Chinese and the Americans, never-mind the Indians, the Russians and the Brazilians. So the chances of a deal that is going to do what is needed, i.e. a 40% cut by 2020, 80-90% cut by 2050, I don’t think there is a very big chance that is going to be done at Copenhagen. What we might get is some modest commitments in outline, probably not a very detailed deal at Copenhagen but maybe, at best, an agreement that countries need to work towards some framework that will include adaptation, cuts, money, forests, whatever and maybe that will get some flesh put on it during 2010 with any luck.
Some people say that the worse thing that could happen in Copenhagen is half of a crap deal that can be presented as a good one and the mistake then is that governments in the West, in particular, believe that they‘ve done the job when actually what they’ve committed to is like a 5% cut by 2020 and they think that is good. That could be the worst case scenario. In some ways a complete collapse in Copenhagen, on the grounds that it is crap might not be the worst outcome if it means they have to come back again and the political anti is lifted. But, yes there is a real danger that there could be something weak coming from there that is seen as the answer. I think what will probably happen is that there will be half a deal and it will get signed off in 2010. But, you know, it is still going to be one that does the job really, this is kind of last chance. I mean everyone has said it, but it’s true, you know the more the science comes through with new runs on the modelling and observations on what is happening to the seas and the oceans and everything else, you can see that this is actually worse than anyone thought, in terms of scale and speed that it is going at. So, you know four degrees temperature increase plausible by 2100, complete catastrophe for life on Earth including humankind, this is the last chance to avoid it really... [wry laugh]
So there you have it, what must not happen is 'half a crap deal' lets hope it doesn't!

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