At the Joint High-level Segment on early Wednesday afternoon, six Canadian youth stood up and turned their backs on the Canadian minister when he was delivering a statement defending the country’s climate policy. As the first developed country which refused to commit to a second period of Kyoto Protocol, Canada’s stance and performance in Durban was disappointing and disputed by numerous parties and groups. Canadian negotiators were deemed as defending the interests of the tar sands rather than their people. The six Canadian youth were eventually ejected from the conference room by safety guards; however, their actions won the biggest round of applause, making their minister’s statement far less compelling.
Unlike different country parties who held firmly to the rule of “common but differentiated responsibilities”, youth from various countries shared a “common and undifferentiated goal” – working collaboratively and saving our planet today in Durban. During these two weeks, the youth took a myriad of actions to convey their disappointments for the negotiation process and their hope for a promising outcome. There was an increasing number of youth streaming through the ICC center wearing “I love KP” T-shirts. The youth gave public performance singing their self-made song “Ode to Kyoto – Save the Protocol at COP 17”.
Will their actions influence the outcome of this political negotiation?
Probably not, as the U.S. chief negotiator Jonathan Pershing said in his last briefing: “I know you were not happy with what we did, but this is negotiation. The outcome will not be the same as you expected.”
By far, there has still been no substantial progress on the major two issues at this conference: the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol and the Green Climate Fund. Durban is more and more likely to be burial of Kyoto Protocol. A consensus on the draft governing instrument of Green Climate Fund hasn’t been reached. Is there going to be a miracle at the last moment of the negotiation?