Seán McDonagh on COP15, 1/3
Seán McDonagh, SSC, is a well-known Irish Columban Missionary, deeply involved in issues of environment. Many of his references can be accessed by typing in his name in the search function of the webpage of the Columban Missionaries. We met Seán at COP15 and he agreed to answer to some of our questions.
1. You have participated in previous COPs. Do you see some evolution? What makes COP15 different from the previous COPs?
Yes, there is an evolution. I began attending the COP in Nairobi in 2006. The following year the Bali Road Map was produced at the meeting in Denpasar. This Road Map is supposed to culminate here in Copenhagen with a legally binding treaty to cover such areas as Mitigation, Adaptation, Clean Development Mechanisms and a number of other areas. Copenhagen is crucial, because the Kyoto Protocol runs out in 2012, and, as yet, no successor treaty has been put in place.
2. What is the most urgent step that you think should be made today?
The COP needs to get negotiations back on track and come up with a serious, legally binding treaty. There are only six days left and there is so much to do. Annex I countries (rich countries in the jargon of the COP) –- have to be realistic in terms of how much they are willing to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the Adaptation Fund. According to the 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the emission cuts need to be in the region of 25% to 40% on 1990 levels by 2020, if the rise in the average global temperature is going to be stabilized at below 2 degrees Celsius. Even this will cause huge problems for poor countries in terms of severe weather, floods and droughts, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers. It is estimated that the Adaptation Fund will need $100 billion dollars annually by 2020 to meet these challenges for poor countries.