While the news from COP16 is still good, in fact one article announced that even the USA and China have signed the accord. There was one voice that raised a great deal of concern and criticism towards the Accord and that was President Evo Morales of Bolivia. His concern has to do with the agreed goal of allowing the Earth to warm up to 2C above what it was a century ago. He asks the question:
According to the proposals from some powers, they are happy to put forward measures that would lead to an increase of 2 degrees Celsius and some think even of increases to 4 degrees. Imagine what our planet would look like with an increase in temperature of 2 degrees or 4 degrees, given that at 0.8 degrees we already have serious problems in the world
There has been a lot of discussion over this goal. Some believe it is attainable, others think we may have to warm up the planet a bit more, to 4C before we can see the result of cutting back the carbon emissions. Regardless of what happens today, we shall experience a temperature increase, because it will take some time before the effects of what is in the atmosphere now are demonstrated, from what I read there is a bit of a lag. The goal is 350 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere. For most experts this is the safe number, if it goes higher, there is concern. Right now is 383 ppm, so there is concern. At the website 350.org, there is a discussion page which gives the science behind the number. So the concern is we are already on the way to missing the target. Of course the other problem is that it is the average temperature increase, which means the potential for fluctuations within that average. For example, the hot regions of the planet won't experience much more of a temperature increase, its hot enough all ready. That means for the average, the northern and southern areas will get hotter still. This probably will mean; changes in weather patterns, and everything moving north or south. While some think its a great idea that Canada will get warmer, it also means problem if there is melt of the permafrost or if the muskegs begin to dry up, for in both scenarios, it will mean even more carbon released into the atmosphere.
To continue some of the thoughts of President Morales:
We came to Cancun to save nature, forests, planet Earth. We are not here to convert nature into a commodity. We have not come here to revitalize capitalism with carbon markets.He has a concern with the carbon trade- that whole thing that allows one nation to pollute if another promises not to develop. He truly believes it must be equal. It is not one nation that has problems, it the entire planet.
He also stated:
I am convinced that if presidents take on their responsibility, not to certain powers such as multinational companies, but instead to peoples and social movements, we can advance. Why don’t states here go to the Peoples’ Summit in Cancun, and listen to the concrete proposals of social movements who come here in representation of the victims of global warming? Why don’t we agree to a global referendum; take the historic decision of practicing global democracy, submitting ourselves to the demands of the people struggling against climate change and for life? If governments don’t act, it will be the people who will force their governments to act.
So by writing this, am I now opposed to Cancun. No I still am optimistic. We are living now in a time when things are happening. The window of opportunity has now slammed shut, we've got to do some major reacting to what is going to happen and hope that our actions today will have a positive impact.
One thing that must be remembered, but never counted upon, is the Earth has an amazing ability to heal. If we start dropping our carbon emissions, and Cancun is an important step, it's not the whole step, but a small step nonetheless, then perhaps the globe will forgive our folly and begin to cool down. I'm sure we'll get kicked in the teeth a few times before it happens, but those might to our ultimate advantage to never be so stupid again.