From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/nov/30/why-durban-is-kyoto-protocol-last-chance
With climate change already claiming human victims, the world must get an agreement out of the UN conference in South Africa
The United Nations' annual climate summit descended on Durban, South Africa, this week, but not in time to prevent the tragic death of Qodeni Ximba. The 17 year-old was one of 10 people killed in Durban Sunday, the night before the UN conference opened. Torrential rains pummelled the seaside city of 3.5 million. Seven hundred homes were destroyed by the floods.
Ximba was sleeping when the concrete wall next to her collapsed. One woman tried to save a flailing year-old baby whose parents had been crushed by their home. She failed, and the baby died, along with both parents. All this, as more than 20,000 politicians, bureaucrats, journalists, scientists and activists made their way to what may be the last chance for the Kyoto protocol.
How might the conference have prevented the deaths? A better question is, how might the massive deluge, which fell on the heels of other deadly storms this month, be linked to human-induced climate change, and what is the gathering in Durban doing about it? Durban has received twice the normal amount of rain for November. The trends suggest that extreme weather is going to get worse.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a group with thousands of scientists who volunteer their time "to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change". The group won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Last week, the IPCC released a summary of its findings, clearly linking changing climate to extreme weather events such as drought, flash floods, hurricanes, heat waves and rising sea levels. The World Meteorological Organisation released a summary of its latest findings, noting, to date, that 2011 is the tenth-warmest year on record, that the Arctic sea ice is at its all-time low volume this year, and that 13 of the warmest years on record have occurred in the past 15 years.