mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
A Green Dream Deferred
Who Wants to Attend a Climate Summit? Anyone? Anyone?

As if to illustrate the futility of these charades, many of the world’s environmental ministers aren’t even bothering to show up to the latest climate summit in Bonn. The last time representatives from around the world got together to try and move forward on the increasingly delusional Global Climate Treaty, more than 130 officials attended. But last November’s meeting in Warsaw ended in walk-outs and bitter disappointment, a particularly dysfunctional conclusion even by these talks’ standards. Now the latest round of talks in Germany has barely pulled in 50 ministers, less than half the number present in Poland. The BBC reports:

“Obviously as negotiators we are disappointed that ministers haven’t turned up,” said Ambassador Ronny Jumeau from the Seychelles. […]

According to Ambassador Jumeau, many of those who did come had no new commitments on emissions or climate finance to show in their presentations. “I think what we saw on the screens and the lack of ministers goes together. They didn’t have anything to put up there or they were ashamed to do it.” […]

Ministers from some of the most significant economies like Brazil, India and South Africa didn’t travel. Neither did those from the US, UK or France.

Attendance at the Bonn conference is by no means mandatory—ministers are only required to go to the larger Conference of the Parties (COP) summits. Still, some 130 turned up at the conference last year; the 60 percent reduction in attendance in just 6 months is a sign of growing frustration at the lack of real progress. After more than 20 years of talking about an international climate agreement, can you blame them?

While momentum slows in Bonn, halfway around the world a climate conference is actually accomplishing something, by focusing more on sharing innovative ideas than on setting targets. It’s been a good week for national efforts to address climate change, but less so for international endeavors.

Features Icon
show comments
© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service