(Updated Nov. 29) Cancun climate summit should not be `Copenhagen Accord Part II', says Bolivia

Statement by the Plurinational State of Bolivia

November 27, 2010 – At the next meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 16), which begins November 29 in Cancun, Mexico, the 192 member states must agree on a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

However, on November 24, the president of the Ad-Hoc Working group on Long-Term Action issued a new document that attempts to legitimise the “Copenhagen Accord”, which the United Nations merely “took note of” last December in Denmark.

This new document put forth by the president of the Ad-Hoc Working Group, instead taking into account the proposals of all the parties put forth during the process of negotiations, downplays the need for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. [The latest document] was developed underwithout the mandate from the parties, and promotes emissions reductions by all countries without clearly distinguishing between developed countries and developing countries, leaving aside the fundamental principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” among nations.

Like the Copenhagen Accord, the document promotes a stabilisation of the rise in temperature to 2 degrees Celsius, ignoring the proposals of those who have asserted that the temperature increase should be limited to 1 or 1.5 degrees Celsius. It eliminates all of the proposals of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth that took place last April in Bolivia, such as the recognition of the rights of Mother Earth and the full application of human rights principles, including the rights of Indigenous peoples and climate migrants, in all climate-related actions. Other proposals included the establishment of an International Climate Justice Tribunal and the use of war and defence budgets by developed countries to address the problem of global warming.

The new document goes even further than the “Copenhagen Accord” by inviting the World Bank to administer the new climate fund, and limiting financing for climate change to US$1 billion – ignoring the proposal of the G77 and China to dedicate 1.5% of the GNP of developed countries (the equivalent of $6 billion) to financing climate change and the proposal of Bolivia to use 6% of of the GNP of developed countries.

Said text openly promotes new market mechanisms and the establishment of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). These market mechanisms transfer the responsibility to reduce emissions from developed countries to developing countries and, in practice, signify the financing of developed countries by developing countries.

The new document treats forests simply as carbon sinks and does not guarantee the full participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in forest management.

Regarding technology transfer, said text does not recognise the proposal that intellectual property rights should not be an obstacle to effective access to technology needed by developing countries to face climate change.

On the topic of adaptation, it does not consider the institutional framework proposed by developing countries to implement adaptation actions using new and additional sources of financing beyond official development assistance (foreign aid).

In sum, the new text does not reflect the various proposals of the G77 and China, nor does it take into account the proposals of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which represent the demands of the more than 35,000 delegates that gathered last April in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

The Plurinational State of Bolivia believes that it is essential to uphold the multilateral process at COP 16 and to avoid the emergence of documents that have not been negotiated, as was the case last year in Copenhagen.

Evo Morales laments exclusion of proposals from Cancún summit

By TeleSur

November 27, 2010 -- TeleSur via MRZine -- Bolivia's President Evo Morales lamented that his proposal as well as that of Venezuela's leader Hugo Chávez, calling on the rich countries to halve their greenhouse gas emissions, has not been welcomed into the Cancún summit on climate change to be held next week.

Morales indicated at a press conference that the petitions to create a Climate Justice Tribunal and to organise a global referendum on how to solve the environmental crisis, submitted by a great majority of nations, have been ignored.

The Bolivian leader said that the Cancún summit on climate change is threatened by "a mercantilist vision of the developed countries".

"The rich countries have excluded, from the working papers, the ambitious proposals made by a world conference of social movements held in Bolivia last April, in favour of the approaches that led to the failure of the previous Copenhagen climate conference held in Denmark last December", Morales emphasised.

Morales underscored that "the two commissions that met in Germany and China to prepare the agenda have been sidelined by the introduction of another agenda which is reminiscent of the analysis at the failed Copenhagen Summit".

He said that great powers -- first of all the United States, one of the major greenhouse gas emitters -- "want to commodify the earth and use it for their own benefit without repairing the grave damage that they have done to humanity by the emission of greenhouse gas that causes global warming".

The Bolivian head of state believes that the Cancún Summit "ought to be a historic, unprecedented event . . . but, for that to happen, an alliance of governments with social forces of peoples is necessary, because otherwise global warming will continue to get worse."

To make that happen, President Morales called upon the nations of the world "to fight for life against capitalism, and for that we must unite and coordinate actions of governments and social movements".

Evo Morales made clear his intention to stand side by side with social movements in Cancún, in order to defend the proposals of some countries that seek to guarantee the survival of the planet earth and of humanity.

Morales reiterates his condemnation of US plans

The Bolivian leader also reiterated his condemnation of the US plans to instigate coups against the member states of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).

He asserted that Venezuela is "now a target of Washington's plots".

Morales proposed that an ALBA meeting be held in Havana, Cuba or Caracas, Venezuela before the end of this year, in order to "go on the offensive and respond to US aggressions."

[The original article "Morales lamenta que ignoren su propuesta en cumbre de Cancún" was published by TeleSur on November 27, 2010. Translation by MRZine's Yoshie Furuhashi.]

Which way for Cancun? From the Copenhagen Discord to the Cochabamba Accord

By Pablo Solon, Bolivia's Ambassador to the United Nations, and Megan Morrissey, assistant to the ambassador

November 29, 2010 -- Cancun should be about those responsible for climate change committing to reduce greenhouse gases. It sounds like a strange thing to say. Unfortunately our experience in past climate talks is that emission reductions is often the last thing discussed. Instead valuable time is spent trying to shift responsibility from those who have caused climate change to those suffering the effects, and looking for ever more creative financial mechanisms for multinational corporations to make profits from climate change.

These constant attempts to deviate from our critical task of preventing runaway climate change were most starkly exposed at the COP15 climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009. After days of blocking any progress on the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding agreement on climate change; the US, EU and a small handful of hand-picked countries met in a secretive location to draw up a voluntary agreement, misnamed the Copenhagen Accord. Bolivia and many other nations opposed the Accord, because it ignored the views of more than 160 countries and because it would move us backwards rather than forward.

The UN's own research has shown that the Copenhagen Accord's voluntary pledges would lead to temperature increases of 4 degrees Celsius -- a level that many scientists consider disastrous for human life and our ecosystems. An internal report by the EU of its own commitments suggested that, thanks to various loopholes, the EU could actually increase its emissions by 2.6% by 2020. This is hardly a step forward and is why the Accord was rightly denounced by millions of people worldwide.

During the Copenhagen climate talks, President Evo Morales of Bolivia observed that the best way to put climate change solutions at the heart of the talks was to involve the people. In contrast to much of the official talks, the hundreds of civil society organisations, communities, scientists and faith leaders present in Copenhagen clearly prioritised the search for effective, just solutions to climate change against narrow economic interests.

So Bolivia decided to put its words into action, and host a Peoples Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in April 2010. The summit in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba was open to everyone, and was attended by more than 35,000 people from more than 70 countries including representatives of 40 governments. More than 17 working groups developed innovative and effective proposals to both reduce greenhouse gas reductions and tackle the root causes of climate change. The Bolivian government then agreed to formally present these demands within the UNFCCC negotiations.

The Cochabamba Accord includes the following key demands:

1. 50 % reduction of greenhouse gas emission by 2017.

2. Stabilising temperature rises to 1C and 300 ppm.

3. Acknowledging the climate debt owed by developed countries.

4. Full respect for Human Rights and the inherent rights of Indigenous people.

5. Universal declaration of rights of Mother Earth to ensure harmony with nature.

6. Establishment of an International Court of Climate Justice.

7. Rejection of carbon markets and commodification of nature and forests through the REDD program.

8. Promotion of measures that change the consumption patterns of developed countries.

9. End of intellectual property rights for technologies useful for mitigating climate change.

10. Allocation of 6% of developed countries' national gross product to actions related to addressing climate change.

The Cochabamba conference was inspiring in contrast to Copenhagen, because no-one was excluded and because it put the interests of stabilising the climate before the interests of business and profit. As the Cancun talks start, there is a long uphill road to climb if the UN is to re-emerge with its credibility in responding to the most critical crisis humanity has faced. The first step it could take is to stop listening to the interests of powerful corporations and instead listen to the demands of the peoples in Cochabamba.

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Mon, 11/29/2010 - 13:49


November 26, 2010 - Ahead of the United Nations climate talks in Cancún that start on Monday, November 29th, Friends of the Earth International calls on governments to reject the role of carbon markets in international climate agreements.

Carbon trading does not lead to real emissions reductions. It is a dangerous distraction from real action to address the structural causes of climate change. Developed countries should radically cut their carbon emissions through real change at home, not by buying offsets from other countries.

Carbon offsetting has no benefits for the climate or for developing countries – it only benefits private investors and major polluters and allows rich countries to avoid their emission reduction commitments.

Friends of the Earth International chair Nnimmo Bassey said:

“We have so little time to make the radical societal changes necessary to tackle climate change and safeguard our planet. Carbon trading should be immediately swept aside by governments and made history so that we can have a future. We are calling on rich industrialized countries to set us on a just, rapid transition towards decarbonization. Cancún will fail if they do not commit to steep domestic cuts with no offsets, and appropriate public finance which excludes the World Bank.”

Proposals related to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries (REDD) are progressing rapidly, but there is a major risk that they will be linked to carbon markets. This would lead to developed countries paying for forest offset projects that essentially privatize developing country forests in order to buy the right to pollute. Forest carbon offset schemes risk taking forest ownership out of the hands of local communities and prevent real action from rich industrialized countries to make their necessary emission cuts at home.

Climate finance – developed countries' financial contributions to developing countries that suffer from climate change – also risks being linked to carbon markets.  Friends of the Earth International calls on governments in Cancún to agree on the establishment of a global climate fund under the authority of the UNFCCC, with no role whatsoever for the World Bank.


Note to editors:

1.The 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be meeting in Cancún, Mexico, from 29 to 10 December 2010.

2.At the talks, Friends of the Earth International is calling for rich countries to cut their emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020, without resorting to carbon offsetting, and for them to commit to this under a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol – the internationally agreed mechanism for legally-binding emissions reduction targets.

Friends of the Earth International is also calling for public money to be made available for developing countries to grow sustainably and adapt to the effects of climate change already causing damage to their people’s livelihoods and families.

The international campaigning federation is calling for this money to come from public sources, not carbon markets.

Friends of the Earth International believes that, because the price of carbon is notoriously unpredictable, this approach would do nothing to supply developing countries with the reliable sources of finance they need. Likewise, carbon trading does nothing to actually reduce emissions.

In addition, Friends of the Earth International believes the World Bank should play no part in providing, managing or distributing this money – its role in tackling climate change has already been discredited because it is one of the largest lenders for fossil fuel projects in the world.

Finally, the international, grassroots federation is also calling on Governments to not resort to finance for monoculture tree plantations and to end existing forest carbon trading proposals. An approach to deforestation must safeguard and enforce community rights.

Friends of the Earth International will be present at the United Nations climate talks in Cancún (COP 16) with a delegation of observers from member groups all over the world.

For more information please contact: Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth International chair and Head of the Friends of the Earth International Cancún delegation, Tel: +234 80 37 27 43 95 (Nigerian mobile number) or email nnimmo@eraction.org.

Marlijn Dingshoff, Friends of the Earth media coordinator in Cancún, Tel +31-6-51 00 56 30 (Dutch mobile number) or + 521 998 108 02 78 29
(Mexican mobile number) or email media@foei.org

If you want to receive our press releases, a copy of our national spokespeople contact details in Cancún (from November 28-December 12, 2010), our Cancún Media Briefing or our Cancún Events Calendar, please send a request to media@foei.org.

Friends of the Earth International is the world's largest grassroots environmental federation with 76 national member groups and more than 2 million individual members and supporters.

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Tue, 11/30/2010 - 22:22


Press Release- La Vía Campesina

Mobilisations are starting ahead of the Summit on Climate Change in Mexico

Mexico City, 28 November 2010) With its six caravans, La Via Campesina and its allies will propose alternatives to the climate crisis and to the lack of responsible agreement between governements. The caravans will stop at various places of peasant, social and environmental struggles, as well as at the world alternative Forum and for a large demonstration taking place in Cancun as well as in the rest of the world, on December 7th.
More than three thousand people are expected at the peasant and indigenous camp “For Life and environmental and social Justice” that La Via Campesina will set up in Cancun from December 2nd. This gathering will also include 70 international members of La Via Campesina travelling from other American countries, Africa, Asia and Europe.

The international caravans “For Life and environmental and social Justice” started their journey on Sunday 28th of November. Movements such as the National Assembly of People Affected by the Environment, the National Liberation Movement and the Mexican Electrician Union will also be part of the caravans.

The caravans will leave from three different regions of the Mexican Republic heading for the Federal District, with the aim of showcasing a map of the social and environmental destruction in the country while spreading the message that peasant agriculture can feed the world population and contribute in cooling down the planet.

The first Caravan will leave from Cerro de San Pedro, San Luis Potosi, state in the center of Mexico, where Canadian mining compagnies operate illegal open-cast mining operations. The tour also includes the towns of Dolores Hidalgo, Pachuca and Ecatepec where the health of the population has deteriorated due to contaminated rivers, overexploitation of aquifers, and rampant urbanization.

The second caravan will start in El Salto, Jalisco, a community with serious problems of water contamination, because of industrial effluence from Guadalajara. In Morelia, Tupextepac, and Toluca, stages of the trip, a group of dissident teachers and the Mexican Union of Electricians will join the caravan. The union has been fighting for a year against redundancies of 44.000 members and the arbitrary closures of their places of work .

The third Caravan will leave from Acapulco harbour, in the southern state of Guerrero, on the Pacific coast. It will go to Agua Caliente, where people are fighting against the construction of a massive hydroelectric scheme which threatens the ecosystems of the region. The caravan will travel through towns such as Chilpacingo, Alpuyeca, and Cuernavaca, where peasant and environmental activists have been involved in crucial struggles.

The three caravans will arrive to Mexico City on November 29th. The following day, at 11.00 am, they will attend the Forum against Environmental Destruction, where Paul Nicholson, Tom Goldtooth, and Ana de Ita and many other will speak. In the afternoon, an International March "For Life and social and environmental Justice" will be organised from the Angel of Independence to the Zocalo.

On December 1st, the fourth Caravan will leave Mexico City for Cancun along with the two caravans from Oaxaca and Chiapas. They will arrive at the Via Campesina Camp on December 3rd in the afternoon.

There, the international peasant movement and their allies will express their rejection of the false solutions that only seek to profit from the environmental crisis, such as geo-engineering, agrofuels, REDD and the carbon market, the so-called clean development mechanisms and the World Bank intervention.

Finally, La Via Campesina will continue demanding that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change adopt the resolutions of the World Conference of the People on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, that took place in Cochabamba, Bolivia.