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Poznan Brings the Battle Against Climate Change to the Next Stage

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Rob West
Rob West

From the 1st to the 14th of December a large New Zealand delegation will meet amongst 9000 participants from government, business and industry, for the 4th meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since the Kyoto Protocol was implemented. This conference will be the most significant thus far as it is the first to introduce the discussions on Copenhagen next year.

In Copenhagen, December 2009, 190 nations will meet to discuss the opportunity to create a new plan of action for combating climate change to succeed the soon to expire plans laid out in the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is a series of agreements between the international community who attended linked to the UNFCCC, the most obvious of these is the commitment to a reduction on greenhouse gases by 37 countries and the EU by 2012. The protocol recognises the larger role of developed countries in this production thus has placed a larger onus on them, than the less developed states.

As well as discussing the plans for Copenhagen there are various other topics set to debate. Many of the pertinent issues of 2008 alongside the continuation of the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, such as capacity building for developing countries, reducing emissions from deforestation, and technology transfer and adaptation. The development of an agreement of understanding and commonality on a climate change regime and a commitment to the process agreed upon is the real goal here. We can hope for considerable alterations to the global emissions agreed upon, though with the massive buffer of emissions trading , whatever aspirations we have will be watered down to suit the large industries attending the conferences. This cynical outlook is only compounded by the recent actions of National and ACT here in New Zealand to smother the ETS. In order for real change to occur, we as citizens need to put more pressure on our government so it can go into Copenhagen with a solid agenda. The findings of Poznan and Copenhagen will have reverberations within New Zealand as new trading schemes are introduced whilst the residents and businesses have to accommodate to the agreement.

Our first opportunity to do so is the 350 Climate Change Festival, which coincides with the International Day of Action on Climate Change, held in Wellington, 6th December, Waitangi Park. Last year 2000 people turned up to see what difference they could make. This opportunity should be embraced by all those with potential to do so and help send a clear message to the government.

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