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Three Issues to Watch During the Durban Climate Summit

From the Winter 2012 Earth Island Journal

The International Climate Negotiations roadshow is rolling into Durban, South Africa this December and the big question – at least for the diminished audience still watching – is what we can expect out of the latest episode of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The performance that took place in Copenhagen two years ago was a disaster. Last year’s installment, which occurred in Cancun, Mexico, was a pleasant surprise, but only because expectations had been set so low. The red-hot intensity that used to greet the performances has cooled to a lukewarm. If the negotiations were just entertainment, that would be bad enough. But this is the future of the planet at stake.

The issues on the table in Durban are huge. First, the very future of the Kyoto Protocol and which countries will be participating in any binding agreement after next year. Second, the key financial issue of how rich and poor countries will pay for responding to climate change. Third, the question of what targets to set for binding emissions reductions.

The very complexity of the climate negotiations is a reason that many people have tuned out these summits. Best, then, to keep it simple. Here’s a quick cheat sheet so you can follow along at home – and help explain the issues to your friends and family… read more …

Richard Graves
Climate activist, social entrepreneur, and online journalist Richard Graves is founder and director of Fired Up Media, a project of Earth Island Institute. He served as the blogger/online campaigner for the Global Campaign for Climate Action, the Editor for It’s Getting Hot in Here – Dispatches from the Youth Climate Movement and served as a Program Director for Americans for Informed Democracy. He is a member of the international committee of the Online News Association, as well as the Society of Professional Journalists, and contributes to numerous online news outlets. He is a recipient of the International Youth Foundation’s Global Fellowship for 2008, was a semi-finalist for Echoing Green, and received the Project Slingshot award.

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