Is the COP the right tool to tackle global warming?

A short analysis on the efficiency of these conferences

, by Jacopo Barbati

Is the COP the right tool to tackle global warming?

The COP, Conference of the Parties, is an annual meeting promoted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Its purpose is to discuss strategies of fighting global warming and pollution; the (in)famous meeting that took place in Japan and resulted in the signing of the “Kyoto Protocol” was a COP.

The COP currently taking place in Mexico is the 16th, indicating that the problem has been at the top of the UN list of priorities over the last decades. But what exactly has been done so far? Not much, except for the already mentioned Kyoto Protocol. But the Protocol itself doesn’t represent a great model of efficiency, considering it’s not being signed by the United States of America, which surely has a crucial share of responsibility for global pollution. A major weakness of the COP is that the Parties are not forced to sign or implement treaties and protocols discussed during the meeting. There is no legal possibility to do so, since the UN is not a global government but a transnational organisation, and in cases of global interest like environment or currency the advocacy for a world federalism is understandable and does not seem that visionary anymore.

More recent efforts were made, for example last year at COP 15 in Copenhagen. But no progress was made there, because some emerging countries put their people’s wealth first; meaning “Who cares about too much pollution? Our industries are at the top of productivity and why put that at risk only to reduce emission and save the planet? The planet will exist more than a lifetime”. It was interesting to see that neither the U.S. nor the 27 member states of the European Union were able to put on the agenda essential topics in order to convince those countries to change their point of view.

Since the global approach has failed in being efficient so far, why not apply the rule “think globally, act locally” and start with local policies to reduce emission?

It seems to be obvious that if the EU had a common foreign policy (and a single seat in the UN), if it was a federation, things might have turned out differently. But maybe members of the Union didn’t even want to convince others, maybe they profit from the current situation. Indeed, they decided to postpone the task of reaching an agreement on climate change, thus the conference did not result in any kind of concrete action. That’s something to think about.

Considering this, is it worth to spend lots of money and time (as well as boarding polluting airplanes) every year for such a meeting? Does anyone seriously believe something has changed since last year, when it was clearly not possible to reach an agreement? Since the global approach has failed in being efficient so far, why not apply the rule “think globally, act locally” and start with local policies to reduce emission? If the U.S. or the EU were to start the process, maybe others were willing to follow; and even if they cannot/don’t want to, someone has to be first. There is not much time left and seeking for an impossible global agreement is just a waste of time. If we didn’t even manage to create a European Federation, how could we possibly manage to have all the countries in the world sign and implement a protocol?


Your comments

  • On 30 January 2011 at 02:31, by Global Cooling Replying to: Is the COP the right tool to tackle global warming?

    Until now there is no scientific proof of global warming. There is a big campaign going on for years to insist there is supposed to be a global warming because of CO². Until now there is no proof at all. In reality, the sun dictates the global climate. Nevertheless, there seems to be a kind of opinion directing in a manner there ought to be a global warming caused by men. In reality, the canadian ice bear population increased from 5.000 to 25.000 units since it was forbidden to shoot it. In fact, there is no statistically significant increase in global temperature. Also, there is no unique opinion among scientists about the definition of world temperature. Weather stations were shut down. Others are not counted for. In total, there is a lot of confusion about the whole weather thing accept that now there is a new field of business which was probably the only reason why the problem was “created”!

    If one looks at satellite pictures the air pollution coming from China and India seems to be a real problem like in the old times when in Eastern Europe the smog polluted the West.

    China will build 500 carbon-based power plants. They don’t believe in this CO²-stuff. They believe in independence!

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