“It always seems impossible until it’s done”

This climate change COP in Durban really offers almost the last chance for saving the planet from dangerous climate change. Yet no-one expects a strong agreement to be made here. However, if not even the mandate for working towards a strong legally binding agreement to cut emissions is agreed, as well as the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol – the only international agreement to cut emissions – then there will be unfolding disaster in the coming decades for millions, possibly billions, of people, expecially among the poorest people.

Night of the opening day at COP17, Durban

After a long morning of opening statements, many with good intentions, many full of platitudes, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Chritiana Figueres quoted Mandela – ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done,’ seeking to bring energy and determination to this flagging negotiation process. (This statement was already the winner in Climate Action International’s slogan competition. We now have key members of the Secretariat wearing lanyards with the slogan!)

I felt pretty miserable to be here yesterday – knowing the odds are against moving forward in the way that science and justice demands, but decided I would go to the opening Reception in Durban City Hall, if only to meet again some of my climate change friends from around the world. I was glad I did – the music and dancing cheered me up, and towards the end, the compere demanded the presence on stage of both the Executive Secretary and the COP president! They really enjoyed being forced to join the dancing – as you can see.

Maybe the optimism of the music really can engender a positive attitude in the negotiations?

Leave a reply