The climate change football game

07 December 2011 | Blogs

It looks as though adaptation, and especially Ecosystem based Adaptation (EbA) to climate change is becoming quite big here in Durban but we now have to really demonstrate that it is better and more cost-effective than other options and how it can be combined with more “infrastructure-type" options, writes Ed Barrow, Head of IUCN's Global Ecosystem-based Adaptation Programme.

IUCN and the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) launched an important “Draft Principles and Guidelines for Ecosystem Based Adaptation”. This has been very well received.

There have been a number of high level events. One UN side event emphasized the need for action now, and that we must get the Green Climate Fund up and running. But this emphasis is on action, that can and must start now – irrespective of what happens with global binding agreements. As the UN Secretary General said  "We all know the reality, but then we continue with business as usual. We must start business unusual!"

But in terms of the main negotiations: the Kyoto Protokol is the real question! Will there be a new agreement (or even a road map) or not? Sadly much of this boils down to politics. Climate change is the football being kicked around on the political playing field between the different groupings. It is a sad indictment that our children’s future is linked to this sort of political football! But there is some good news, as much bilateral funding is being committed, which is great (and some of this is fast start funding).

While there is much to be pessimistic about, there seems to be more optimism than might have been expected. The calls for real action now, irrespective of funding modalities, and the increased emphasis and importance of adaptation, are key elements of this optimism. And we hope, as the UNFCCC Executive Secretary said, that this will result in a new Global Business Plan for the Planet. The proof of that “pudding” will be in the cooling thereof.