The Development and Mitigation Forum got off to an energetic start yesterday with provocative opening addresses and a collegial, participatory atmosphere. Framed as a platform upon which to attempt a bridging of the development-climate change disconnect, the Forum organisers are expecting the emergence of new ideas and collaborations within an open minded environment.
Sergio Margulis (Brazilian Presidency) and Anand Patwardhan (Indian Institute of Technology) opened the floor with a summary of the current state of the development-climate change discussion. Anand drew attendees’ attention to developmental synergies and benefits to be had from integrating energy and non-energy policies in the developing country context and the need to create a safe space for experimentation with locally tailored technological solutions. Sergio Margulis dichotomised the approaches of developed and developing countries to climate change: The rich don’t really care and the poor can’t really care. However he warned that climate change won’t wait for us to negotiate a solution.
MAPS Director, Stef Raubenheimer, highlighted the intractability of the current climate-development debate and the need to reframe the problem: “Those concerned with economic growth talk about return on investment. Climate change people talk about NAMAs.” He argued that the climate change community has not done enough to demonstrate to political and economic leaders that better growth will be achieved through alternative development paths.
In the afternoon plenary presentations focussed on NAMAs, whilst a “Smorgasbord” session offered small group discussions led by experienced practitioners on various topics, ranging from on-the-ground projects (like the Kuyasa CDM project) and specific issues (like Carbon trading in the African context) at the climate-development interface. For more information on the Smorgasbord groups on offer, visit the web page.
Presentations were also held on the topics of transport and land use.
To ensure focussed, progressive work, the Forum will include several “Stock taking sessions” on days two and three to integrate key threads from the wide variety of discussions on offer. These stock taking sessions will culminate in a virtual document synthesising key outcomes.