The work of the negotiators kicked off today with the opening sessions of the Ad Hoc Working Groups for the Kyoto Protocol and LongTerm Cooperative Action. The opening statements that groups of countries made served to clarify the main points of disagreement that will occupy negotiators' time here in Durban.
An interesting element of these statements was the recurrent references to three reports that have recently made headline news. If you want to read what the negotiators read, try these for bedtime reading this week:
UNEP Emissons Gap Report. This report shows that the commitments made in Copenhagen are not nearly enough to reduce emissions to the levels needed to ensure that average global warming is no more the target agreed last year in Cancun, 2 degree C. The report identifies cost effective ways to address the gaps. (google unep emissions gap report)
The International Energy Associations report, World Energy Outlook 2011. This shows that 2010 saw the highest increase in global GHG emissions, despite the global economic showdown. The report raises concern about investments being made in high emission energy sources and high subsidies on fossil fuels. (http://www.iea.org/WEO
IPCC Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. The IPCC is virtually certain that climate change is already having an impact in many parts of the world on the frequency, severity and location of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, droughts and flash floods. (ipcc.wg2.gove/SREX).
These reports, by reputable scientific organizations, stack up to an inevitable conclusion for most parties: figure out ways to enforce emission reductions now or really screw up the global climate for generations to come.