Will Durban Climate Talks Leave Us On the Wrong Side of History?

Guest post by Heather Libby of TckTckTck.org, originally published on Huffington Post.

Whatever happens, the next 48 hours will change the world.

The Durban climate negotiations dance on a wire. Sway but a little, and everything falls.

For the past ten days scientists, politicians, faith leaders, health leaders, artists and unions have formed an urgent choir calling on the negotiators to act. Our partners in the TckTckTck alliance have sung, danced, protested and marched. In solidarity, 400,000 (and counting) people worldwide have signed the latest Avaaz call to action urging the European Union, Brazil and China to take these negotiations forward.

And yet, here we are. Not much further than we started last week.

Over the past few days, I've traveled to speak to people directly affected by climate change. I’ve visited both the OccupyCOP17 assembly and the Kennedy Road informal settlement (home of the Abahlali baseMjondolo shack dwellers movement).

The faces of climate change do not take shuttle buses from pristine hotels. They do not sit in air-conditioned plenary rooms and eat catered food. As you can see in this video, their reality is much different.

These are the people who should be deciding our climate future. The ones who are unable to go to school when high tides flood their classrooms. Who watch as extreme drought turns their grasslands into deserts littered with desiccated carcasses.

They are starving. They are drowning. They are fleeing their homes, or being flooded out of them. They do not have the luxury of waiting to 2020 for binding emission targets.

It is easy to reconcile the act of waiting until 2020 in an air-conditioned hall. It is easy to vote against the Kyoto Protocol when you’ve never pulled your children out of the remains of your house after a rainstorm washed it away.

It is time to take the negotiations out of the convention centre and into the sweltering Durban summer heat. Instead of sitting in cool halls, let the delegates stand in the downpours expected on Thursday and Friday. Let them look Tambilo and her son in the eyes and tell them why they chose not to fill the Climate Fund.

There is still time to turn the Durban talks around. A deal by 2015 is still possible. For all 315,000 victims of climate change so far this year, I pray we end up on the right side of history.

And if not, forgive us.


Hi, can you explain the 315 000 victims of climate change this year claim please. Do you mean deaths, or injuries or economic victimhood ? What do you cite to support  this claim ? 

bad weather events probably, HengisMcstone - good name 

There was no bad weather in preindustrial times

From Wikipedia:


“The Global Humanitarian Forum was a non-profit foundation in Geneva, Switzerland, active from 2007 to 2010. Presided over by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan …”

“The organisation encountered serious financial diffulties due to which the Forum had to dismiss senior staff such as its Director Martin Frick and its Communication Director in March 2010.[1][2] On 31 March 2010 the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs announced that the Forum was over-indebted and obliged to cease its activity.”

“The ‘tck tck tck’ campaign was created by the Global Humanitarian Forum and strategic communications partner Havas Worldwide/Euro RSCG. ‘tck tck tck’ was subsequently adopted as the unifying symbol for many civil society organizations worldwide, including a coalition of leading NGOs who campaigned for a fair and ambitious global agreement on climate change to be reached at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference (COP15). The Forum and Havas launched their own ‘tck tck tck Time for Climate Justice’ campaign on June 2009 at the 56th Cannes International Advertising Festival.

So, actually, you’re not citing any valid “statistic” at all – but merely repeating a claim made by what is obviously a political advocacy group with a vested interest in promoting their Global Warming agenda.

How about this, a more conservative figure from the WHO but still indicative of the scale of climate impacts on health:

By 2000, that [1 degree temperature] increase was responsible for the annual loss of about 160,000 lives and the loss of 5.5 million years of healthy life, according to estimates by the World Health Organization. The toll is expected to double to about 300,000 lives and 11 million years of healthy life by 2020.


I'm sure that's just a liberal media conspiracy to you as well?  Any other pearls of wisdom? Who killed JFK? Who is responsible for 9/11?  I'm sure you're full of 'em. 

Why don't you go over to Durban or elsewhere in Africa and try explaining your grand U.N. conspiracy tale to the people who are sick and dying due to extreme weather and other symptoms of climate disruption? I'm sure they'd love to hear it from you. Maybe while you're helping to rebuild their flood-destroyed homes. 

I don’t see any reason for you to become verbally abusive and start hurling insults?

And I also don’t see how merely presenting relevant facts amounts to a “conspiracy”.

I’m simply pointing out that the United Nations has a vested interest in promoting their Global Warming agenda, as does it’s various branches, of which the W.H.O. is one.

Even using the W.H.O.’s claimed estimates, the number of deaths is relatively small compared to deaths from other causes which actually have practical remedies, like malaria, or the lack of clean drinking water.

For that matter, cholera deaths in Haiti alone have topped 4,000, and over a quarter million have had to be treated.  French scientists attribute the outbreak to the presence of UN troops dumping untreated human waste into a river.

Before you get too carried away by the UN’s claims as to the number of people hypothetically killed by Global Warming, remember that this is the same organisation which stood by and allowed 1,000,000 people to be murdered in the Rwandan genocide, thereby abetting it.  Even the UN concedes a death toll of 800,000.

From their track record, one would have to conclude the world would be a lot better off without the UN’s “concern” for human life.

Chris_B, first of all, clearly you've never attended a COP before or met many of the brilliant scientists and delegates who have no affiliation with the U.N. other than the badge that everyone who attends receives, because if you did actually go to these events, you might learn something about the impacts of climate change on these very real people that would upend your 'vast u.n. conspiracy theory' worldview. There are no “U.N. troops” at the COP meetings, Chris. Your argument is not only entirely baseless, it's comical.

But, to your point of rebuttal, which “French scientists” do you refer to regarding the Haiti cholera outbreak? You're seriously, with a straight face, implicating U.N. troops?  

Independent scientsts have pointed to environmental causes for the severity of the Haitian cholera outbreak, aided by an extremely warm summer. 

“The University of Maryland cholera expert Rita Colwell, a former director of the National Science Foundation, pioneered the study of Vibrio cholerae, the bacteria that causes cholera, in the environment. She and others have discovered the bacteria in water bodies untouched by human waste, its abundance and distribution fluctuating not with levels of contamination, but with sea surface temperature, ocean currents, and weather changes. 

In Haiti, Colwell says, the earthquake washed silt and limestone into the river system, creating the nutrient-rich, alkaline conditions that cholera vibrios thrive in, just as an extremely warm summer set in. Rising concentrations of cholera bacteria coincided with an explosion of malnourished refugees with little access to treated water.


Your - and others - arguments that “other things kill more people” is a red herring. Climate disruption stands to impact millions of lives in short order, but if you choose to ignore it, that's your prerogative. I wonder, though, what is your motivation for denying the science, the victims of extreme weather like those mentioned in Heather's post, and the overarching need to kick our fossil fuel habit?  You do realize we're running out of these resources, right? Does the concept of pollution-related health impacts also escape you? 

Yes, Brendan, I accept your apology.

No, I can’t say I’ve never been invited to attend any of these COP champagne and caviar shindigs.  And even if I had been, I’d never be able to afford the stretch limos, first class hotels, private jet travel, or the hookers and the night life. 

I’m just one of the poor schmucks who’s forced to pay for these activities out of my taxes, without ever getting a taste of high life those nabobs apparently entitle themselves.

I’m not sure why you persist in your “conspiracy” rantings?  Surely, it’s quite obvious to anyone the UN has a vested interest in perpetuating their Global Warming campaign, as do many of these so-called “climate scientists”.  Or haven’t you read any of the Climategate e-mails?  They certainly make no secret of their collusions amongst themselves, when they think nobody is listening.  In fact, they’re quite blatant about it.

Regarding the UN troops being responsible for the cholera outbreak in Haiti, I’m not the only one implicating them.  The French scientist in question is epidemiologist Dr. Renaud Piarroux.


Cholera in Haiti linked to UN troops: report

“Epidemiologist Renaud Piarroux, who studied the outbreak for the Haitian and French governments, concluded that there was no doubt that the cholera originated in contaminated water next to a UN base outside the town of Mirebalais along a tributary to Haiti’s Artibonite river.”

“Nepalese troops earlier confirmed they had replaced a leaking pipe, which contained a foul-smelling run-off that the UN denies was human waste, between two visits by an AP reporter in October.”

But since you attribute the cholera outbreak in Haiti – a place which, despite it’s many problems, hasn’t had a recorded case of cholera in more than 50 years – to “an extremely warm summer” (and believe me, nobody was more shocked and surprised than me to learn that a Caribbean country with a tropical climate, that grows sugar cane – would have “an extremely warm summer”!), surely Climate Change was also responsible for the UN’s leaking sewage pipes?

So I’m sure the next time an oil pipeline springs a leak, you’ll place the blame where it squarely belongs: Climate Change.

Is there nothing that Climate Change can’t do?  Certainly Climate Change must have caused the earthquake in the first place, too?

And if I believe in this UN “conspiracy theory”, then apparently so does your own beloved Huffington Post:

“There had never been any documented cases of cholera in Haiti until a year ago, when a U.N. peacekeeping battalion from Nepal likely introduced the disease.”


Deny the science all you want, Mr. Demelle, but surely you can’t deny The Huffington Post.

Yes, my and other people’s arguments can be easily dismissed as a “red herring” by you, but I’m not so sure the more than 6,200 Haitians who have been killed and the close to half a million who have been sickened by the UN would agree with you.

Report: UN Peacekeepers Caused Cholera Epidemic in Haiti


(And be sure to catch the video of Climate Change  causing UN troops to sexually assault a Haitian teenager.)

I have heard the exact same thing a while back on National Public radio here. It seems that an “expert panel appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has concluded those suspicions are correct.”


Lets just let the UN take the blame for Haiti and move on.  (Brenden’s post seemed to blame UN for Haiti, but point out the bigger issue as Climate Change.)

Now Chris;

I’m simply pointing out that the United Nations has a vested interest in promoting their Global Warming agenda, as does it’s various branches, of which the W.H.O. is one.

How did you leap to that conclusion?  Yes, I agree that the UN is working on Global Warming.  But its a Global problem.  Not a local one.  It involves the third world as well as the first.

But in this context what do you mean by ‘agenda’?  That’s a very ‘conspiracy’ laden word.

And on another point, why blame the UN?  These are scientists from all over the world.  To think that they are somehow colluding to advance an ‘agenda’ is preposterous.  Especially in light of zero evidence, the fact that they get along as well as any other group of thousands of people, and the fact that they’d all be commiting treason to advance some sort of ‘agenda’.

As for who gets sick and why… that is a question for an epidemiologist which I seriously doubt that you are.

“These are scientists from all over the world.  To think that they are somehow colluding to advance an ‘agenda’ is preposterous.  Especially in light of zero evidence …”

Zero evidence?!  Seriously? 

Perhaps this will help you lift the fog:


Chris_b, once again, confirms he is a denier troll.  Displaying the 'artful' machinations of denial, desperation and disinformation, Chris_b links to a generic version of the illegally stolen, hacked emails that show (gasp) scientists communicating about the harassment they receive from deniers. What else?  Oh, sharing their candid, private thoughts as they work to do their difficult jobs, occasionally disagreeing with one another, talking in jargon that is easily (and widely) taken out of context by said deniers and their trolls.  

And just as Chris_b shows he lacks any relevant expertise, let alone basic reading comprehension skills, to understand the EPA fracking study - clearly articulated and quoted to him by AnOilMan to no avail - Chris_b remains stuck in his biased position, clinging to his conspiracies.

Just to give you some context here.

worldwide In 2002

393,000 people died of falls


In 2001 (just the developed world)

499,000 died of self inflicted wounds


It’s not really much of an arguement to muster trillions of dollars to combat these deaths when preventable diseases like measles killed over 600,000 last year. We actually can prove that measles killed those people where it is tough to prove that c02 killed 315,000 people.


good point - and the biggest killer out there is the automobile. Kills millions annually - more than 4 times the number killed in warfare. And these are real numbers that you can actually count.

clearly we should banish the automobile altogether. I presume the world savers out there have all turned in their car keys by now.

“It is time to take the negotiations out of the convention centre and into the sweltering Durban summer heat.”

Forecast for Friday, Durban South Africa;

Overcast with a chance of rain. High of 70°F. Winds from the SSE at 5-10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.


That sounds rather pleasant! 

Certainly a lot nicer than a Canadian winter, which I’m already sick of, and it’s only the beginning of December …