Expressing his thanks for the impressive program of the past 3 days, Maina Talia remarks: “I'm probably the first person from Tuvalu that has ever been in a mine.” 20 people are standing in a big circle in front of the Bundeskunsthalle (Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany) in Bonn. The sun is just about to set and the UN campus, site of this year's climate climate talks, is only a few hundred meters away.
The concluding remarks presented by the climate activist from the far-away island nation Tuvalu showcases one of the central challenges surrounding a just energy transformation. In Germany and many other developed countries, we mine and burn coal. But in Tuvalu, coal is completely irrelevant.
That is, if you don't factor in climate change – coal plays a crucial part in it and is one reason why the island nation is up to its neck in water – literally.
Naturally, this is an injustice. Just like the fact that in general, those countries suffer the most from the effects of climate change that contributed the least to its development. Global warming can only be halted if the energy sector transitions to sustainable energy sources. But how can this transformation be made equitable?
The participants themselves mirror of the diversity of the debate on a just structural change: They come from unions, NGO's, research institutes and churches from El Salvador to Bangladesh. They all bring their own understanding of an equitable energy transformation, just like the German dialogue partners they have met on this trip.
This is true for the miners that gave a tour of the training facility in Recklinghausen, which is part of the local mine. They themselves have worked underground for 30 years and have their own, very particular relationship to to coal and the energy transformation. This is the case for the other partners as well, with whom the group was able to visit various projects on renewable energy and structural change processes in Herne, Dortmund and Wuppertal. The engineers, urban planners, social entrepreneurs, union representatives as well as regional and federal politicians have very different perspectives and ideas. Accordingly, it is impossible to derive at a single recipe for success. Rather, individual solutions that take the specific circumstances of every country into account need to be found.
During the Study Tour, the participants were able to review and debate their own individual positions regarding a just structural change. At the end of the trip it has become clear to the group standing in front of the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn: It is much easier to say what is not just than to find a clear-cut answer on how an equitable transition could look. The intensive exchange of experiences with each other and the dialogue partners will without a question prove very valuable during the following weeks at the Climate Change Conference in Bonn, and beyond.
More articles on the Climate Change Conference can be found here: www.fes.de/lnk/cop23
Schlagworte: cop23, english
Department/Section: GPol, IEZ
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