Copenhagen: `Imperial' climate deal rejected by poor-country delegates
December 18, 2009 -- Speaking on behalf of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela took the floor at the plenary of the COP15 climate talks in Copenhagen to denounce the final ``deal'' that was soon to emerge and be imposed on the majority poor-country delegates, and which would fall far short of their demands.
Chavez accused US President Barack Obama of behaving like an emperor “who comes in during the middle of the night … and cooks up a document that we will not accept, we will never accept”.
Chávez declared that “all countries are equal”. He would not accept that some countries had prepared a text for a climate deal and just “slipped [it] under the door” to be signed by the others. He accused them of “a real lack of transparency”.
“We can’t wait any longer, we are leaving … We are leaving, knowing that it wasn’t possible getting a deal,” he said.
Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, also took the floor to express annoyance at the way a climate deal was being thrashed out by a small group of world leaders at the last minute. "If there is no agreement at this level, why not tell the people?", he said at the plenary meeting . He called for further consultations with the people.
"Who is responsible?", Morales he asked. Concluding that "the responsibility lies on the capitalist system -- we have to change the capitalist system".
The so-called "Copenhagen Accord" was pushed by the US and Australia, and sealed in meetings behind closed doors with the leaders of China, India, Brazil and South Africa. It was announced by Obama late on the evening of December 18, and presented as ``final'' even before the COP15 delegates had a chance to vote on it. It does not commit governments to interim 2020 carbon emissions-reduction targets, or to legally binding reductions and only expresses a general aim of limiting the global warming increase to 2 degrees Celcius -- well above the 1 degree C-1.5 degree C target most delegations were calling for.
Obama negotiates the fate of the world, December 18, 2009. Photo COP15.
Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, delegation head of the G77 group of developing countries, rejected the accordand vowed to fight it. "Obama, acting the way he did, definitely established that there's no difference between him and the Bush tradition", he told Time magazine.
Nnimmo Bassey, prominent Nigerian environmentalist and chair of Friends of the Earth International, described Copenhagen as "an abject failure". "Justice has not been done. By delaying action, rich countries have condemned millions of the world’s poorest people to hunger, suffering and loss of life as climate chang accelerates. The blame for this disastrous outcome is squarely on the developed nations. We are disgusted by the failure of rich countries to commit to the emissions reductions they know are needed, especially the US, which is the world's largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases.
"In contrast African nations, China and others in the developing world deserve praise for their progressive positions and constructive approach. Major developing countries cannot be blamed for the failure of rich industrialised countries.
“Instead of committing to deep cuts in emissions and putting new, public money on the table to help solve the climate crisis, rich countries have bullied developing nations to accept far less. Those most responsible for putting the planet in this mess have not shown the guts required to fix it and have instead acted to protect short-term political interests."
`Real leadership' on the streets
“The only real leadership at the conference has come from the hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who’ve come together to demand strong action to prevent climate catastrophe. Their voices are loud and growing – and Friends of the Earth International will continue to be part of the fight for climate justice.”
Greenpeace criticised the accord for not having “targets for carbon cuts and no agreement on a legally binding treaty”. Oxfam International called the deal “a triumph of spin over substance. It recognises the need to keep warming below two degrees but does not commit to do so. It kicks back the decisions on emissions cuts and fudges the issue of climate cash.”
The ``accord'' confirms the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Developed countries commit collectively to providing US$30 billion in new, additional funding for developing countries for the 2010-2012 period. It also says developed countries support “a goal of mobilising jointly 100 billion dollars a year” by 2020 from a variety of sources.
Erich Pica, president of the Friends of the Earth (USA), said that the "climate negotiations in Copenhagen have yielded a sham agreement with no real requirements for any countries. This is not a strong deal or a just one -- it isn't even a real one. It's just repackaging old positions and pretending they're new. The actions it suggests for the rich countries that caused the climate crisis are extraordinarily inadequate. This is a disastrous outcome for people around the world who face increasingly dire impacts from a destabilising climate..."With the future of all humans on this planet at stake, rich countries must muster far more political will than they exhibited here. If they do not, small island states will become submerged, people in vulnerable communities across the globe will be afflicted with hunger and disease, and wars over access to food and water will rage.
"The devastation will extend to those of us who live in wealthy countries'', said Pica. "The failure to produce anything meaningful in Copenhagen must serve as a wake up call to all who care about the future. It is a call to action. Corporate polluters and other special interests have such overwhelming influence that rich country governments are willing to agree only to fig leaf solutions. This is unacceptable, and it must change.
"Fortunately, while the cost of solving the climate crisis rises each day we fail to act, the crisis remains one that can largely be averted. It is up to the citizens of the world -- especially citizens of the United States, which has so impeded progress -- to mobilise and ensure that true solutions carry the day. I firmly believe that together, we can still achieve a politics in which climate justice prevails."
Rich countries blackmailing poor to sign onto flawed, unjust `accord'
December 19, 2009 -- Friends of the Earth International -- On the day that the UN Climate talks officially closed, Friends of the Earth International warned against the false conclusion that the UN Climate Conference has adopted the ``Copenhagen Accord''.
The Copenhagen Accord announced on December 18 by US President Barack Obama was not adopted by delegates to the United Nations climate conference here. Instead, delegates merely ``noted'' the agreement's existence, giving it no force whatsoever.
Today rich countries led by the United States are pressuring poorer nations to ditch the UN process and sign onto the Copenhagen Accord. They are threatening poor nations that refuse to sign on with the loss of their share of the US$100 billion that rich countries have pledged to compensate for climate impacts the rich countries themselves have caused.
UN officials are struggling to figure out what the accord even means and how it's related to the UN process, but what's is clear is that it was not approved by the 192 countries that are members of the UNFCCC. By signing onto the accord, poor countries risk displacing the legitimate negotiation process taking place under the auspices of the UN.
The US is so desperate to claim a Copenhagen success that it is now attempting to destroy the existing climate process and sideline 20 years of real multilateral negotiation.
Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth International chairperson, said:
First the US came to Copenhagen with nothing new to offer, and now it's trying to package the weak, flawed, unjust 'Copenhagen Accord' as a replacement for the UN process -- and armtwist poor countries into signing on.
President Bush ignored the UN process, now President Obama risks to torpedo it.
Countries seeking a just and effective solution to climate change should not sign this illegitimate and distracting ``Copenhagen Accord''. They should instead ensure a rapid return to the formal UN process to achieve a fair, strong and legally binding agreement as soon as possible within the next year.
Developing countries have shown real leadership in Copenhagen and must not give up the UNFCCC for the ``Copenhagen Accord''.
*Indonesian Civil Society: Stop Climate Trading, Go for Real Climate Solutions!*
Copenhagen, December 17, 2009
Entering the second week of COP15, Danish police have been demonstrating iron-fist measures to expression of dissent. Until today, arrest and harassment to peaceful civil protesters continue. Heavy handed act would have not been possible without endorsement by people and institutions in power, including those who watch in silent.
Showing off power has been the feature of climate negotiations, particularly during Copenhagen COP15. From physical presence of rich countries delegates ? at the Bella conference Centre the US and EU countries delegates occupy office space equal to the space shared by the rest of the world delegates ? to their delaying tactic in making commitment to the next phase of Kyoto Protocol and attempt to kill it, their message is clear: the rich rules, hence the domination.
People's expectations were high to climate negotiations in COP 15 as we have planetary deadline to act on climate change. We would have seen a major turning point coming out of the talk. However, instead of common climate agreement for the good of us all, we have to witness arm-twisting by the dominant countries demanding political and economic ransom.
In the last days of COP15 we are entering critical moment when the head of States flocking in to seal the deal. We, the Indonesian Civil Society Forum on Climate Justice, urge the Government of Indonesia (GoI) not to be trapped in false deal. We have been following GoI moves to embrace offsetting wholeheartedly as a solution approach in which we beg to differ. We believe shifting one's problems away to other's backyard will not get us out of the problem. We are also aware of market-based initiatives such as trading carbon stock from our forest as in REDD and similar scheme has been cooked up in marine sector. Apart from the 'official' reason of protecting the resources, those have been put forward under pretext of gaining funding to finance Indonesia's natural resources management reform. We believe this approach will not be effective with the absence of political will to eradicate rampant corruption in all sector. Furthermore, we believe it is wrong to rely on carbon trading for fundraising, especially when the market is volatile. We do not have time and an alternative planet to risk with such an experiment.
There is also concern in the corridor talk between delegates that Indonesia may play the role of the 'Yes Man' to rich countries and split further the position of countries asking for real climate solutions. The truth is not far from the alarmist thought as the Indonesian government has been persistent with its profit seeking approach in climate deal.
We, therefore, urge the President of Indonesia, DR Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to:
* stop selling and pawning out the country through false solutions
* stand behind those who seek for just and fair climate agreements and refuse to be used as the puppet of rich countries
Mr President, there are millions of Indonesian waiting for your genuine commitment to rescue our already-marginalised livelihood so we can adapt to the impact of climate change with dignity.
* The Indonesian Civil Society Forum on Climate Justice is a coalition of 30 Civil Society Organisations fighting for climate justice. It was born in the run-up to Bali COP 13 2007.
As President Obama announced that major states had reached a deal in Copenhagen, Bolivia's ambassador to the UN, Pablo Solon angrily denounced the released text of the agreement:
"This is completely unacceptable. How can it be that 25 to 30 nations cook up an agreement that excludes the majority of more than 190 nations. We have been negotiating for months on one of the gravest crises of our age, and yet our voice counts for nothing? If this is how world agreements will now be agreed, then it makes a nonsense of the UN and multilateralism."
Pablo Solon also condemned the substance of the agreement:
"The agreement talks of setting targets that limit warming to 2 degrees. The leaders of the rich countries should come to Bolivia to see what global warming is already doing to our country. We have droughts, disappearing glaciers and water shortages. Imagine this scaled up three times. We cannot accept an agreement that condemns half of humanity"
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Green Party leaders: US negotiators at the Copenhagen summit helped kill necessary measures against global warming, replacing them with vague vows on greenhouse gas emissions
Green Party Speakers Bureau: US Greens available to speak on ecological sustainability and global warming http://www.gp.org/speakers/speakers-ecological.php
WASHINGTON, DC -- US Green Party leaders expressed their dismay with the failure of the UN summit in Copenhagen to reach an agreement on international action to curb climate change.
Greens have been especially critical of the grossly inadequate emissions reduction proposals that the US and other rich countries brought to Copenhagen, the lockout of NGOs from the Bella Center while oil company executives were welcomed, the brutal treatment of protesters in Copenhagen, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's announcement by that concrete measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be replaced by vows of transparency and good intentions.
Cynthia McKinney, 2008 Green Party nominee for President of the United States: "The 'Copenhagen Accord' announced on the final day of the summit is a sham. It was not adopted by UN delegates and carries no force. The US is trying to invalidate the UN's efforts by pressuring developing countries to sign on to the Copenhagen Accord, threatening to withhold their share of the $100 billion in wealthy countries' compensation from developing countries that refuse to sign. The compensation money is meant to help offset the economic effects of measures against climate change and the dire consequences of climate change that many developing nations will suffer. This is blackmail of the worst kind, placing billions of lives in danger. Unless a real and binding accord can be reached during next year's meeting in Mexico, the Copenhagen failure risks a breakdown in global security, when the increasing effects of global warming lead to global conflicts over dwindling resources."
Mike Feinstein, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States, former mayor of Santa Monica, California, and participant in the December 2007 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali (http://unfccc.int/2860.php): "What is the legacy of the Copenhagen meeting? No emissions reduction targets. No requirement for verification of progress from nations on emission reductions. No acknowledgement that developed industrial countries have created most of the problem and therefore must carry most of the burden of the solution. No firm commitment on mitigation and adaptation aid from developed countries to developing countries, especially in light of decades of exploitation and taking of resources from poorer nations and skyrocketing consumption rates in countries like the US. The US and its Canadian and European allies must be held responsible, as should growing large-scale greenhouse gas emitters like China and India, for placing the freedom of nation-states to continue polluting and growing in a cancerous, unsustainable manner ahead of the future of people and the earth. Failing to deal with climate change is a crime against our planet. Dividing the global community by pitting large emitters against the poorest and most vulnerable is a crime against humanity.."
Audrey Clement, co-chair of the Green Party's EcoAction Committee: "The two most important causes of climate change -- excess consumption and excess population growth -- were apparently never raised in or around Copenhagen. The solution to the former is the adoption of energy conservation as the linchpin of national energy policies in the industrialized world. The solution to the latter is the promotion of family planning, sex education, and contraception, which require securing rights and equality for women throughout the world. If we don't take our own steps to check population growth, global warming will do it for us."
Martin Zehr, co-chair of the EcoAction Committee: "International diplomacy has proven inadequate in addressing the most fundamental issue confronting humanity. The hedged bet will be paid by future generations. With or without an agreement in Copenhagen, Greens will continue to include the voices of scientists and environmentalists in policy development and work to reduce the dominance of corporations in decisions about climate policy. It is clear that states, such as California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas need special attention in the national effort to reduce emissions (http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/state_energyco2inv.html). We've made water a top priority, since access to fresh water faces a particular threat from global climate change (http://gp.org/cgi-bin/vote/propdetail?pid=380). The EcoAction Committee of the Green Party is increasing its role in public education, providing policy support to Green candidates and working with others towards a sharp reduction of GHG emissions at the federal and state levels no later than 2015. The failure of the Copenhagen conference to establish real targets for energy transition makes our work that much more important if we are to see any change in direction."
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"Copenhagen collapse shows the power of polluters over politicians"
By Bob Brown (Australian Green leader), The Herald Sun (Melbourne), December 21, 2009
"Climate Betrayal in Copenhagen"
The Green Party of Canada, December 18, 2009
"Global Greens call for honest, scientifically sound climate agreement"
Global Greens, December 13, 2009
"Global Greens forum on December 13 to address global warming during UN Copenhagen Climate Conference"
Green Party of the United States, December 9, 2009
Live streaming of the event: http://greens-efa-service.eu/live/scc/live.html
"Global Greens Second Congress 2008 -- Climate Change -- Time for Transformation Declaration"
United Nations Copenhagen Climate Conference http://en.cop15.dk
"Global Economic Apartheid Is Obstacle to Fair Climate Deal"
By Claudia Ciobanu, Inter Press Service / TerraViva, December 17, 2009
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