Doha climate talks: Bolivia declares, 'The climate is not for sale!'

The following address was presented on December 5 by Jose Antonio Zamora Guitierrez (pictured), minister of environment and water for the Plurinational State of Bolivia, to the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP18) in Doha, Qatar. 

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December 5, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Mr. President of the COP, distinguished heads of state of countries of the world, ministers, officials, delegates and representatives of social organisations, Indigenous peoples and communities and farmers of the world, receive a greeting from the Plurinational State of Bolivia and our president, Evo Morales Ayma.

The planet and humanity are in serious danger of extinction. The forests are in danger, biodiversity is in danger, the rivers and the oceans are in danger, the Earth is in danger. This beautiful human community inhabiting our Mother Earth is in danger due to the climate crisis.

The causes of the climate crisis are directly related to the accumulation and concentration of wealth in few countries and in small social groups, excessive and wasteful mass consumption, under the belief that having more is living better, polluting production and disposable goods to enrich wealth increasing the ecological footprint, as well as the excessive and unsustainable use of renewable and non-renewable natural resources at a high environmental cost for extractive activities for production.

A wasteful, consumerist, exclusionary, greedy civilisation generating wealth in some hands and poverty everywhere, has produced pollution and climate crisis. We did not come here to negotiate climate. We did not come here to turn the climate into a business, or to protect businesses of them who want to continue aggravating the climate crisis, destroying Mother Earth. We have come with concrete solutions. 

The climate is not for sale, ladies and gentlemen.

The withdrawal of some developed countries of the Kyoto protocol and avoiding of their commitments is an attack on the Mother Earth and to life. The problem of climate crisis will not be solved with political declarations, but with specific commitments.

We will not pay the climate debt of developed countries to developing countries. They, developed countries, must fulfill their responsibility. While some developed countries do their best to avoid their commitments to solve the climate crisis, developing countries are making greater efforts to reduce emissions, and paying the price of a climate crisis and that everyday leaves droughts, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, etc.

The climate crisis leaves us poorer, deprives us of food, destroys our economy, creates insecurity, and createsmigration. Climate change will make the poor poorer. Poor and developing countries have a great challenge: the eradication of poverty. And we’ll have to face a climate crisis for which we are not guilty.

In addition to adapting to climate change we must ensure security, education, health, energy for the population, provision of water and sanitation services, delivery communication and infrastructure services, job creation, provision of housing, reconstruction due to loss and damage caused by extreme weather events, adaptation actions, among others.

We denounce to the whole world the pressure from some countries for the approval of new carbon market mechanisms, although these have shown to be ineffective in the fight against climate change, and that only represent business opportunities. This is a climate change conference, not a conference for carbon business. We did not come here to do business with the death of Mother Earth, betting on the power of markets as a solution. We are here to protect our Mother Earth, we came here to protect the future of humanity.

Yesterday forests were turned into carbon markets businesses, and the same was done with the land, they tried to oceans and, worse, to agriculture. Agriculture is food security, employment, life and culture. Agriculture is along with the land, mountains and forests, the house and the food of our Indigenous and peasant communities. 

We will not allow the replacement of the obligations of developed countries with carbon markets. The planet is not for sale, nor our life. 

It is essential that developed countries take the lead with mitigation actions with concrete results and high ambitions and that developing countries do their part within their respective capabilities, and according to financial and technological transfers, solving problems of poverty.

In Bolivia we have the vision of Living Well as a new approach for civilisation and cultural alternative to capitalism, and in this context we focus our efforts to create a balance and harmony between society and nature.

Bolivia presented here concrete proposals to strengthen the global climate system. We have proposed the creation of the Joint Mechanism for Mitigation and Adaptation for integrated and sustainable management of forests, not based on markets, to strengthen community, indigenous and peasant management of our forests, which can promote climate mitigation actions without transferring the responsibilities of developed countries to developing countries.

Also, we promote consistently the creation of an international mechanism to address loss and damage resulting from natural causes and impacts of climate change in developing countries. Our country will not promote carbon market mechanisms such as REDD, and will respect and strengthen community management of forests.

We will not allow the people of the world to pay the bill for the irresponsibility and greed. It's time to give concrete answers to humanity and Mother Earth. Let's be careful of the intentions of some developed parties to make us feel resigned in front of this terrible reality, and admit the inertia and inaction of those countries that are historically responsible of global warming, sending us a message that is better to have a "pragmatic" attitude, which of course will condemn to cook planet and the extinction of the humanity.

Mr. President, brothers and sisters of the world, take these words as a commitment to life and Mother Earth. With this conviction we will be guided to meet the challenge we have in this conference, the challenge of saving the planet, and not to negotiate our climate. Thank you Mr. President.

Mr. President, brothers and sisters of the world, take these words as a commitment to life and Mother Earth. With this conviction we will be guided to meet the challenge we have in this conference, the challenge of saving the planet, and not to negotiate our climate. Thank you Mr. President.

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Statement by the Plurinational State of Bolivia, translated by Richard Fidler

December 5, 2012 -- Bolivia Rising -- At the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is being held in Doha-Qatar November 26-December 7, the Bolivian delegation has reaffirmed its rejection of the use and expansion of carbon markets as a tool for reducing emissions causing climate change in the world, and presented a proposal using alternative tools not based on carbon markets.

Why are carbon markets not a response to the climate crisis?

In 2005, a scheme was implemented [the REDD – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries] under which developed countries, which are historically responsible for climate change, were allowed to transfer their carbon reduction responsibilities to the developing countries through the use of carbon markets, enabling the developed countries to purchase reductions on the pretext that they were achieving greater economic efficiency in the fight against climate change.

This mechanism allows the developed countries to purchase emission reductions from the developing countries, at prices of 3 to 20 dollars per ton of carbon, to help fulfil their commitments, when it would have cost them an average of $38 to reduce the same ton. They argued that this would help reduce the emissions of the developed countries.

To date, about twice the amount of 1990 carbon emissions by developed countries has been accounted for in carbon markets. The carbon market is a profitable business. But it does not in fact contribute to reducing emissions or solving the climate crisis.

This is an alarming situation, especially when scientists are speaking out strongly about the need for genuine reductions if we are to avoid climate catastrophe.

If we take a careful look again at the numbers, we realise that emissions have increased and continue to increase, notwithstanding that the carbon market data are an attempt to demonstrate the opposite. It is critical that there be no further delay in taking immediate action and achieving real reductions.

We simply cannot leave the solution to the problem of climate change to carbon markets, which have demonstrated great efficiency in generating profits for the big corporations (about $720 billion) at the cost of speculation and postponement of real action to confront climate change.

The Plurinational State of Bolivia proposes implementation of a new joint mechanism for adaptation and mitigation through integrated management of forests that prevents deforestation and avoids the emission of millions of tons of greenhouse gases. It will be funded through the Convention’s Green Fund, using public funds from the developed countries, in line with the commitments made by these countries for a decade with no results to date.

The mechanism proposed by Bolivia, which critically differs from REDD, represents a genuine alternative that is consistent with the principles of the Convention, and especially with the principles of equity, historical responsibility, and climate debt. It is a proposal that seeks to achieve real reductions and not speculation about trends, supplemented by actions for real reductions in emissions within the industrialised countries — thereby avoiding the transfer of their responsibilities to the developing countries.


By Louise Gray, December 5 2012. Source: The Telegraph

At the latest round of climate change talks in Doha, Qatar, the UK pledged almost £2bn over the next two years to help poor countries cope with climate change.

But the World Development Movement said the money is going to large companies rather than helping poor people likely to suffer from climate change.

A recent example was £385m, channeled through a World Bank project to promote clean energy in poor countries.

WDM say that most of the money went to private companies to build wind turbines or solar panels for profit.

Some £10m ended up going towards a 27-turbine farm in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, operated by the French energy giant EDF, to be paid back in 15 years.

WDM claim that all of the electricity is being used by Walmart, the owner of the Asda supermarket chain, rather than for local people. Also land owned by indigenous people was used without their consent.

The latest tranche of UK climate change aid spending, includes £150 million towards projects such as building more solar panels in Africa.

Alex Scrivener, the World Development Movement’s policy officer, feared the money would again go to private companies.

“While it is good that the UK government has reaffirmed its previous commitments on climate finance, it looks like it has continued to move in the wrong direction in terms of how to spend the money. Most of the money will be spent on projects that put big business rather than the poor in the driving seat. This means we may see more large-scale corporate energy projects which fail to boost energy access.

“The UK government is trying to present itself as being progressive on climate change by making this announcement at Doha. But this conceals a pro-corporate agenda which risks channelling money meant for the poor to benefit big business.

“The UK’s obsession with bringing in big business at all costs risks leaving projects that help poor people adapt to the effects of climate change without funds. These projects are often not profitable and are therefore not attractive to private sector investors. It is these vital adaptation projects that should be made a priority for support with UK public money.”

Greg Barker, the Energy and Climate Change Minister, insisted that public money will continue to go directly to help poor communities adapt to floods and droughts and other impacts from global warming.

But he said that channeling money through the private sector could ensure billions more cash is spent on helping the developing world to go green.

He pointed out that UK investors could make money from leading the way on providing low carbon goods and services, not only helping out own economy but those in developing countries.

The CBI estimate this sector could be worth £4 trillion by 2015.

Mr Barker said he was pushing for City of London to lead the way in providing the financial instruments such as pension funds, insurance and ‘green bonds’ that will fund low carbon projects.

The UK is leading a meeting of private sector investors in Abu Dhabi early next year to develop these low carbon goods and services in the City.

“For me this meeting (in Doha) is about an audacious land grab for global green goods and services market,” Mr Barker said.

Climate change aid is a key part of the UN negotiating process moving towards a deal in 2015.

Poor countries want $100bn per year of funding by 2020.

A source close to the UK negotiating team said the money announced in Doha was designed to encourage the rest of the world to come forward with climate change aid, especially in Europe.

“Basically we are saying to the French: we have upped our contribution, now up yours.”


We need to be thinking about the side effects of industry a lot more and start holding other countries responsible for their contributions to pollution. One instance is rice crops. Their roots produce an enormous amount of methane a year because of the way they are poorly maintained - they rot.