Meena Raman: "The struggle for climate justice will go on" after Durban

The climate change negotiations are "deadlocked" and "unfortunately" they are "looking very bleak", said Meena Raman, expert of the Third World Network, interviewed by journalist Prabir Purkayastha for Newsclick, a leading Indian news portal. Raman spoke about what can be expected for the next Conference of the Parties (COP) of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)that will take place in Durban, South Africa, next November.

When asked about "where the current negotiations are going", Raman recalled that  the COP convened in Cancun, Mexico (2010) "appeared to have legitimized" the fragile accord reached at the previous COP in Copenhagen (2009).

"Those of us who have watched that process are witnessing a movement towards avery bleak future in climate negotiations," she said. "The convention was mooted in 1992 and ratified subsequently, and then we had the Kyoto Protocol [  [… ]whichwas supposed to rectify the implementation of the deficit in relation to the mitigation aspect of the climate negotiations because the developed countries were doing very little."

When the COP convened at Copenhagen, " climate change was the most important phenomenon" and "the mood was about recognizing that the developed world had to do much, much more through legally binding cuts", and ensure that the developing countries had the“finance and technology" necessary to mitigate the damage caused by climate change.

Unfortunately, Raman mentioned, the developed countries have not kept their promises, and this failure has affected the developing world’s possibility of achieving sustainable development.

She underlined how the Kyoto Protocol was almost destroyed by the rich, developed countries during the Cancun conference, and described their defiant, rule by might attitude whereby the desire to kill the legally binding treaty and replace it with a more lax pledge system was clearly articulated.

Leading up to the next COP in Durban, South Africa, in November, and especially to the preparatory meeting that will take place in Bonn, Germany in June, the Group of 77 developing countries and China made it very clear that the Kyoto Protocol is essential, and that a second Kyoto Protocol commitment period must be secured in Durban. Raman stressed, however, that it remains to be seen whether or not there is a sufficient level of unity to make it happen.

The political possibilities to force the negotiations or to design a solution for the climate change crisis with initiatives related to the so-called "green economy" are "questions that have to be asked to civil society around the world. I think that if we leave (the solutions) to the politicians we will not get anywhere. I think what needs to be felt is a sense of outrage. As we move towards Durban, civil society, particularly the African civil society movements, have been gathering."

"Not many of us are hopeful about what will happen in Durban, but what we want to do is at least  use that opportunity to expose the politicians, particularly in the United States. What we have been saying is, leave the United States out.” Raman stated that Europe, and not the United States, should lead the process, since it has championed itself as a global leader in climate change issues. But, she says, “if  European civil society allows its politicians to hide behind the United States, then we are in trouble.”

 She concluded saying that for those in the climate justice movement, “ “Durban is another touchstone”, and that the “struggle for climate justice” will continue.

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Meena Raman's interview on Youtube: