MONDAY 5 DECEMBER
Start of week 2—The negotiations entered the second week, and Conference President Maite Nkoana Mashabane explained that on Tuesday, no fewer than a dozen heads of state and 130 ministers will be attending the high-level part of the Conference to help reach decisions on the future of the Kyoto Protocol, agreement on future negotiations for a rule-based system, and a basket of issues needed to implement the decisions from Cancun that can avert “the worst ravages” of climate change.
The negotiations--Like airplanes looking to land in bad weather, negotiators in Durban continue to hone their final approach strategies, seeking convergence on a route that will lead to a gentle touch-down. Step-by-step, key countries continued to advance proposals that hold the key to a successful outcome. Connie Hedegaard, who leads the European Union’s climate efforts, said more countries, including the least developed and most vulnerable countries, had indicated support for the idea for a roadmap to a legally binding agreement by 2020. Brazil said it would examine the proposal with “very positive attitude.” And China said it would agree to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol with basically just the Europeans and several other developed countries signing on if it were part of a larger package that included commitments on financing and starting up the Green Climate Fund.
Disappearing Lake Chad—There was a time when Lake Chad encompassed about 250,000 square kilometers in Africa. It is now down to some 2,500 square kilometers, prompting the Lake Chad Basin Commission, a group of six African nations, to issue a plea for international assistance to reverse the situation. What is at stake, according to the Commission Executive Secretary Sanusi Imran Abdullahi, is the lives of some 30 million people who could be forced to move if the situation further deteriorates, posing the potential for conflict and insecurity. “Our story is simple. The situation is a disaster for Africa and the world.”
West, Central Africa feeling climate change—West Africa and the Sahel are contending with more extreme weather, including more droughts and floods, according to a new report issued by UNEP. Temperatures in the region have gone up by 1 degree Celsius over the last 40 years, with 1.5-2 ⁰C observed in far eastern Chad and northern Mali and Mauritania. The report, Livelihood Security: Climate Change, Migration and Conflict in the Sahel, identified 19 climate hotspots.