Durban blog: Climate protesters and global businesses share the same enemy


Jane Burston reports on the protests and negotiating gambits as the second week of talks kicks off

Today marks the start of the second week of the climate talks here in Durban. Ministers, prime ministers and presidents have started to descend on the conference centre for the start of the 'high-level segment' of the talks, which begins tomorrow.

The UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, will spend the day familiarising himself with a draft negotiating text which was released over the weekend, and will also jointly launch a report commissioned by his department from the Met Office Hadley Centre.

The report uncovers the observations, projections and impacts of climate change for more than 20 countries. It was commissioned to get the latest and most robust scientific assessment of the likely impacts on these countries - a range of developing and developed nations in different geographic locations - in order to inform the UK government's negotiations here in Durban.

This will come after a weekend of activity from observers at the conference. Protesters took to the streets calling for climate justice, and there was particularly bad feelings towards the US, Canada and Saudi Arabia for using delaying tactics to halt the progress of the talks.

A more upbeat atmosphere held out at the World Climate Summit, where senior executives at large corporations met to discuss a business response to climate change.

The World Climate Summit was also host to the Gigatonne awards organised by the Carbon War Room, a charity set up and funded by Richard Branson, Vladas Ladas and other international entrepreneurs.

Two UK companies received awards. Tesco "for its work on supply chain emissions reduction and showcasing pilots of carbon reduction plans and training", and Centrica for "enabling consumers to generate their own low carbon energy and energy efficiency".

The highlight of the awards ceremony was a short video recorded by Branson, explaining that he is keen to recognise countries as well as businesses. Germany was acclaimed for its large share of renewable energy, but the loudest applause of the evening went to Branson's lament that his team had forbidden him from "awarding a lemon" to a unnamed developed country next door to Canada that is halting meaningful progress on climate change.

If, as Branson's charity suggests, this is a war, then it's clear that observers in Durban have identified the shared enemy. What's not yet clear is what tactics will be used and who will come out on top.

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