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Anandi Sharan Reports From Copenhagen

Anandi Sharan Reports From Copenhagen

December 10, 2009 Copenhagen Update: At a press conference, G77, China and Brazil reminded the world that warming of more than one degree Celsius will be the certain annihilation of Africa.

 

Ambassador Lumumba and Bernaditas Muller said there were two key messages from G77 and China: 

 

“Yesterday G77 and China made comments on the Danish text. We expressed our views on the USA and the role of the USA, and today we want to again emphasize that message. We ask President Obama and the USA to join the Kyoto Protocol. We do believe that….(he hesitated and repeated what he said before) to joint the Kyoto Protocol.  Because the world cannot achieve an equitable and just deal that would save the planet without the participation of the USA. Global peace and security would be endangered without the USA participating in resolving the serious threat to humanity in a common purpose to save humanity. (Yesterday Ambassador Lumumba called for a new pact between nature and humans).

 

"The USA has accumulated many things in this last century, to help us now fight the many threats that the world has to face. The other reason is that the USA is the world’s largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases. As such the USA’s 4% reductions of emission would not help save the world. That is our position.

 

"The central issue is that we ask the President not to reiterate, but rather to reexamine the fundamental view of the 2 degree Celsius warming. Because the science shows that this will expose Africa to devastating suffering. I will read a very brief quotation from the IPCC report “in all four regions of Africa and all seasons the medium temperature growth will be 3.5 degree C to 4.5. degree C, which is one and a half times the effect in other regions of the world.” In other words 2 degrees Celsius temperature rise is certain death to Africa. And this is not what we call an element of an equitable or a just deal. You cannot make a tradeoff between a fundamental right to life and the details of a deal.

 

"The final issue we want to highlight to President Obama is that the world has enough resources. To address climate change in a more radical and more substantial and more committed manner, that is commensurate with the challenge, we remind that the IMF has 200 billion SDRs that are not being used. This money must be made available. It must be one component of the financial deal that is necessary for the success of this Copenhagen conference. It is what is necessary to stop endangering the world to immeasurable suffering. So there is no claim whatsoever for lack of money or finance. Two arguments are often stated and put forward: supply of such an amount of money will produce inflationary impacts. But this is not true. The money will create effective demand in other words it will benefit the world in terms of economic growth. The second reason that is told is that the American Congress is opposed. The first is, the American Congress has to be asked. You have approved billions of dollars in defense budgets. Can you not approve 200 billion dollars to save the world? Question mark? The second issue that will be asked, without the USA the rest of the world can still issue the 200 billion dollars to finance climate change – so why are you not doing that? I do not think that is in the spirit of the leadership required at this moment."

 

Next Ambassador Bernaditas Muller said she is leading in the Bali Action Plan track process in matters of finance and technology transfer. She asked Ambassador Lumumba to reply on the question of Tuvalu, and then said that "Tuvalu is not a member of G77 and China, not all members of AOSIS are members but they have very serious and important concerns. It is about opening certain articles under the Convention, and these may have be looked into, but it is thus a perceived division of the Group of 77 and China we have a common position on financing and technology and there are lead conveners of these sectors."

 

She asked Ambassador Lumumba whether he wished her to answer the question on technology and finance. She then went on to say that "it is a commitment to which developed countries have agreed because of the historic responsibilities for this problem by developed countries, and both the technology and finance are there as commitments by developed country parties. Now the financing proposal by G77 and China is that we want a governance mechanism for governance of the financial mechanism under all the Parties, that is under all the countries developed and developing parties alike. This is the mechanism through which the developing countries are helping the developed countries to meet their targets. Every single CER that is added to the system is added to an assigned amount unit for the target of a developed country to be met.

 

"The role of the developing countries is to help the developed countries to meet their targets. Now some have greater mitigation capabilities than others and that is why developing countries have put into the CDM mechanism the adaptation fund to share the proceeds of the clean development mechanism to help adaptation under Kyoto – but all of this my friends, including LULUCF, is dependent on deeper targets by developed country parties. The convention does not stipulate any commitment obligation for developing countries under the convention. What we are looking for under the Convention, is that the developed countries must modify longer term trends, which means modification of consumption and production lifestyles. We are the most vulnerable victims of climate change, which is why we want very deep reduction targets by developed countries. All developing countries look towards poverty eradication. All developing countries have large pockets of poverty in their countries", she said.

 

Ambassador Lumumba added that "what we believe the USA should do is that first, join the efforts of addressing climate change by making ambitious reductions this would be economy wide emission reductions, and should be comparable in magnitude and time scale and compliance of Annex 1 country signatories to the Kyoto Protocol. And they should be reflected in accordance with article 4.2, of the Convention. That is the first step they should take, whilst we wait for the Congress to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which is why 18 Congress men wrote to President Obama asking him to preserve the Kyoto Protocol. We should not waste time trying to reinvent what we have already achieved.  That is our humble view to the United States of America. This is what we expect of him as a Nobel Prize winner. This is what we expect from him as an advocate of new multilaterism, it is what we expect from him as a member of developed and developing countries. He still has his brothers in that continent. So the challenge for him is to rise up to that challenge. That is my answer and that is what we simply are asking. And it is not much for the largest industrialized nation of the world."

 

There was a short press conference by the EU in the evening

 

The EU said they cannot introduce a new sectoral crediting mechanism in its entirety in this session and there is still much work for designing this mechanism. But they hope for agreement that Parties will go ahead with this post-2012. The EU has a 20% target at the moment. The EU is also setting up technology initiatives with public money at the moment. In the EU they have set up these platforms. So these could be turned into global initiatives. The EU expressed the hope that deep cuts will drive a high price on emissions hopefully, which will be a strong driving factor for technology. This is being supported by work on standardizing and simplifying baselines. African countries are looking for this. Carbon capture and Storage is for example also still under discussion for the crediting mechanism. Forestry credits and links to market mechanisms are being discussed.

 

In the evening press conference by Brazil,  Brazil said that what ever text is floating around as apparently a text by China, India, South Africa and others,  a text which Brazil may have contributed to as part of a group,  is a text whose time came and went, it is no longer relevant.  Thirty five developing countries still call on developed countries to reduce their emissions in total to at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. The rest of the press Conference was in Portuguese.

 

Conclusion

 

It is not immediately apparent at all now how the USA can make a legally binding commitment in Copenhagen if they do not sign the Kyoto Protocol. It appears that there is no agreement on anything under the LCA track as adaptation is being discussed under the Kyoto Protocol. Mitigation in any case is also not under the LCA track anymore, and financing also now has shifted to discussion of the IMF. What is left is technology. The EU and the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said that there may be an outcome on technology under the LCA track. Thus the outcome from Copenhagen may now be that the Kyoto Protocol is taken further into the second commitment period, but without the 40% cuts against 1990 levels by 2020 level of commitment demanded by a group of 35 developing countries, and indeed the IPCC. There is concern by developing countries that these inadequate commitments will be further diluted by offsets.There is still a great need for Annex 1 countries to jointly commit to 40% cuts against 1990 levels by 2020.  Half a trillion USD is expected to be raised from proceeds of sale of CERs for adaptation (see yesterday's report).

 

Whether the USA will be satisfied with signing or even willing to sign what will be in effect (hopefully) a major new initiative on technology transfer as the major and only outcome from Copenhagen in which the USA is involved remains to be seen.

 

There will be no news tomorrow as the plenary will only reconvene on Saturday 12th of December.

     
     
     

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