The United Nations is having climate talks this week in Barcelona. These will be the final talks before the U.N. Framework on Climate Change (COP15) in Copenhagen.
Monday, Africa stood up and refused to continue with the "Kyoto Protocol track" talks until developed countries become clear on their 2020 emissions targets. (The U.S., however, is not part of the Kyoto Protocol track.) Africa's position is that people are dying from climate change, and rich countries need to make commitments to curb emissions. The talks were halted for an entire day. Success? Apparently the rich countries made changes that cleared things up.
Here in Virginia, not many of the youth know what's going on with the international climate negotiations. Or, what they heard is mostly complicated policy jargon. We're trying to change that. Leading up to the negotiations many student activists are working on awareness campaigns involving the media, and getting petitions signed calling on Obama to be present in Copenhagen.
The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change is only about a month away. At these final talks we need to find agreement, not halt discussion. That said, developing countries are feeling the hardest hit from climate change, and producing the least amount of emissions (with exception of Indonesia, the third largest contributor to global warming pollution). Developed countries should be the first to commit to emissions reductions.
More power to you, Africa.