COP15: “Keep it Simple”

Posted on 06 December 2009 by editor

Yvo de Boer and John Nashe. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch

Yvo de Boer and John Ashe. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch

By Servaas van den Bosch

COPENHAGEN (IPS/TerraViva) – Take the concerns of the South seriously and bring an ambitious amount of money and emission cuts to the negotiating table, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer told industrialised nations on the eve of the biggest climate meeting the world has ever seen.

With over 15,000 people from 192 countries descending on Copenhagen to discuss a climate deal under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), De Boer and colleagues walk a fine line of tempering expectations, while not dismissing the possibility of a historic agreement altogether.

“I would advocate: keep it simple,” De Boer told journalists on Sunday in a Bella Centre that was locked down because of bomb scares. “What we need after this conference is immediate action on the ground. For that to happen, rich countries have to list their ambitions on emissions cuts and make significant financial pledges. Developing nations need to give clarity about what will happen with the emissions of their emerging economies.

“That’s what I am asking from Father Christmas.”

Under no circumstances can there be a deal that sees existing North-South support replaced by climate change funding, said De Boer: “There can be no repackaging, or relabeling of existing Official Development Assistance (ODA) or money for accomplishing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”

Funding for mitigation, adaptation and technology transfers needs to be “real, significant, immediate and additional,” he stressed.

Asked what effect a new Danish proposal – looking to eliminate the differences between north and south in emission cuts – will have on the COP, John Ashe, the chair of the AWG-KP (Ad-hoc Working Group under the Kyoto Protocol) negotiating track, maintained that the conference will focus on hammering out the second phase of the Kyoto protocol which starts after 2012. But industrialised countries are eager to replace Kyoto altogether and replace it with a new deal.

G77 Chair Lumumba Di-Aping  told TerraViva that developing countries will not stand for this. “We are not yet staging a walk-out, but if we don’t like what we hear, it will become a real possibility.”

De Boer urged U.S. President Barack Obama to come to Copenhagen with “some significant money.” The US seems inclined to cut between 17 and 20 percent from 2005 levels, which critics say is not enough.

“Now is the time for us to transcend the barriers of north and south, rich and poor countries and developed and developing,” said Greenpeace International director Kumi Naidoo, whose organisation is demanding 40 percent emission cuts “If we get this challenge right, we can deliver a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous life for our children and grandchildren; otherwise we all sink together.” (END/2009)

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