My Comment on Dot Earth Post on IUCN President’s Call-Out of Developing Countries

I just posted a comment on a new Dot Earth post Wildlife Group Presses Poor Nations on CO2.  The article starts with the following statement (to wet your appetite): "When a prominent figure from the developing world delivers a sharp rebuke to China, India and Brazil for failing to take action on climate change, will those countries listen?"

I posted the comment yesterday but it doesn't seem to have appeared yet so I'm reprinting it here so it doesn't get lost in cyber space.

Glad that Valli Moosa head of the IUCN highlighted that developed countries need to take the lead in addressing global warming, as covered in a recent Dot Earth post.  However, the story on his speech (or it seems his speech) focused on the call for developing countries to take action on global warming.  Unfortunately, it missed what the major emerging economies are actually beginning to signal they would be willing to do in the post-2012 international agreement.  For example he states: "It is not good enough for big developing countries to take absolutely no responsibility just because the biggest contributors to climate change are the developed countries".    

While this is what they were saying for a while, it isn't exactly what they have been saying recently as the outcome at the climate negotiations in Bali highlighted.  At this meeting, they essentially said: we'll take action to reduce our global warming emissions driven by sustainable development objectives and we would be willing to go further if provided with a package of incentives.  This was further spelled out in detail at the recent G8 meeting where the so-called "Plus 5" countries stated in much clearer language this framework when they said that they would reduce their emissions below what they would be otherwise as a part of a package where developed countries took the lead in reducing emissions.  As the Mexican Minister of the Environment has said to me (and to the press [subscription required]): we are no longer saying you do and we watch...we are now saying both of us will take action in a differentiated manner. 

Further major emerging economies are beginning to signal that they won't wait for the leadership of developed countries.  Rather they will start to outline their aims now.  For example, South Africa (Mr. Moosa's own country) just announced a major aim to slow, stop, and reverse global warming.  The President of South Korea signaled that it will adopt a target next year and the Ambassador for Climate Change reiterated this point to reporters at a roundtable that we hosted with him a couple of weeks ago (see this article [subscription required]).  And, as Brazil began to signal it would do when it announced a draft goal to cut net forest loss to zero by 2015.

Of course more needs to be done to firm up the details of these proposals and translate them into concrete actions on the ground in each of the emerging economies.  But this speech by Mr. Moosa and the post gives the impression that major economies are still saying they won't do anything to address global warming.