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Thu, 2011-12-08 12:37Guest
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Will Durban Climate Talks Leave Us On the Wrong Side of History?

Guest post by Heather Libby of TckTckTck.org, originally published on Huffington Post.

Whatever happens, the next 48 hours will change the world.

The Durban climate negotiations dance on a wire. Sway but a little, and everything falls.

For the past ten days scientists, politicians, faith leaders, health leaders, artists and unions have formed an urgent choir calling on the negotiators to act. Our partners in the TckTckTck alliance have sung, danced, protested and marched. In solidarity, 400,000 (and counting) people worldwide have signed the latest Avaaz call to action urging the European Union, Brazil and China to take these negotiations forward.

And yet, here we are. Not much further than we started last week.

Over the past few days, I've traveled to speak to people directly affected by climate change. I’ve visited both the OccupyCOP17 assembly and the Kennedy Road informal settlement (home of the Abahlali baseMjondolo shack dwellers movement).

The faces of climate change do not take shuttle buses from pristine hotels. They do not sit in air-conditioned plenary rooms and eat catered food. As you can see in this video, their reality is much different.

Tue, 2010-11-30 14:40Emma Pullman
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Cancun Showdown: Results at the UN Climate Talks More Important Than Ever

The United Nations Climate Change talks kicked off yesterday in Cancun.  For many, the mood began much more sombrely than last year.  Copenhagen attracted celebrity clout, world leader buzz, and a sense of optimism for a binding agreement.  For all Copenhagen promised, however, those who hoped for a fair and binding global deal left empty handed.  

Along with analysts, pundits and the blogosphere, the U.S., UK and EU are already downplaying the chances of a deal being reached in the next fortnight.  And as Desmogblog reported today, those fears may not be in vain with threats that the U.S. may pull out of the talks early

The talks during the next two weeks are going to focus largely on forests and finance, but also on questions about the legal status of a future agreement and emissions targets, which are expected to be tackled beginning next week when ministers arrive.

The sense of general pessimism around the talks has led some to question the viability of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to deliver, and has led others to manufacture doubt over the scientific basis for action.  A new report released by Oxfam argues that despite the disconsolate atmosphere, a year of extreme weather conditions demonstrate more than ever that a binding climate agreement under the UN auspices is imperative.  The report, More than ever: climate talks that work for those that need them most, presents the weather events that have devastated much of the planet in the last year, and the even more harrowing costs of climate inaction.  

According to the report, at least 21,000 people died due to weather-related disasters in the first nine months of this year – more than twice the number for the whole of 2009.  “This year is on course to experience more extreme-weather events than the 10-year average of 770. It is one of the hottest years ever recorded,” wrote Tim Gore, Oxfam’s EU climate change policy adviser and report’s author.

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