Delegates from 194 countries have gathered in Durban, South Africa for the 12-day UN Climate Change Conference. And based on the modest progress made last year in Cancun I am cautiously optimistic that progress can again be made this year.
I am particularly encouraged by former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s plea for the global community to unite around the goal of conquering climate change as we once united around the battle against apartheid. At a pre-conference rally, Tutu described climate change as a “huge, huge enemy” that threatened the common home of humanity and imperilled rich and poor alike.
Information already presented indicates that 95 per cent of the 80 countries that submitted relevant climate data showed 2001-2010 to be the warmest decade on record.
In fact, the impacts of climate change are already in evidence, and they include not only worsening drought, floods, storms and rising sea levels, but also increases in hunger, homelessness and poverty.
As Desmond Tutu said prior to the Durban conference: “We have only one home. This is the only home we have. And whether you are rich or poor, this is your only home… You are members of one family, the human race.”