In Durban, South Africa, a major United Nations conference on climate change has entered its second day. The talks in Durban have been described as the last chance for world leaders to set another round of legally binding greenhouse gas emissions targets before the first stage of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012. Tasneem Essop works with the World Wide Fund for Nature in South Africa.
Tasneem Essop, World Wide Fund for Nature in South Africa: "We do run the risk of losing the Kyoto Protocol, the only rules-based system that we have. And what would be devastating is that the sum total of all of that could once again break down the trust that we have in the multilateral process, the only process that is inclusive and gives voice to the most vulnerable. So, we’re coming to this COP with all in play. This allows for the risks that I have spoken about, but also the opportunities that can exist for parties to, in fact, rise to the occasion. And the missing element, we believe, is political leadership."
Selwin Hart, a climate negotiator from Barbados, called on wealthy nations to do more to help protect member of AOSIS, the Alliance of Small Island States.
Selwin Hart, Alliance of Small Island States: "The physical consequences will be extinction for some of the small island developing states, and that is not a deal that we’re prepared to sign up to. The chair of AOSIS was quite clear. At the heart of any agreement should be the principle that no country is expendable. We cannot afford, and we should not—it is just morally and ethically indefensible to sign an agreement that will result in the demise of a single nation state."
Democracy Now! will be broadcasting from the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Durban next week.