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No Democracy at Climate Summit, Says Bolivia

Posted on 09 December 2009 by editor

Bolivian delegation. Credit: Raúl Pierri/IPS.

Raúl Pierri

COPENHAGEN (IPS/TerraViva) “Who made the decision that 30 handpicked countries can decide for 190? What really drew my attention was the lack of democracy and transparency in this process,” the head of Bolivia’s delegation to the COP 15, Angélica Navarro, told TerraViva.

Bolivian delegation. Credit: Raúl Pierri/IPS.

She was referring to a Danish draft proposal for a new climate agreement that was leaked to the press this week during the climate summit that opened Monday in Copenhagen.

Bolivia’s representatives complained Wednesday that rich countries were trying to control the outcome of the climate talks, and that there is a “lack of transparency” in the negotiations. They also called for respect for “the rights of Mother Earth.”

Developing countries are up in arms over the leaked text, complaining that it toes the U.S. line and would set specific emission reduction targets for developing countries. They also say it sidelines the United Nations and the Kyoto Protocol in the talks.

“I find this alarming for two reasons. First of all, who made the decision that 30 handpicked countries can decide for 190? What really drew my attention was the lack of democracy, participation, inclusiveness and transparency in this process, which we are not used to from our European friends, who we want to urge to return to the route of democracy,” Navarro said.

“We are also very worried about the content, because it only refers to one new agreement. What about the Kyoto Protocol? Do they want to kill it off? And second, this accord has new obligations in financing, mitigation and adaptation for developing countries? In other words, we have to pay for the damages they caused?”

The Kyoto Protocol, whose first period of commitments expires in 2012, does not include binding greenhouse gas emissions cuts for the developing South.

The United States, however, is pushing for a new framework in which responsibility for emissions cuts would be shared by developing nations, and for voluntary, not binding, targets across the board.

The countries that make up the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) bloc -
Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Venezuela – presented a declaration insisting that the industrial North must assume the costs of climate change, make significant emissions cuts and provide financing and technology for mitigation and adaptation in the South.

“After over-consuming the atmosphere and releasing more than two-thirds of the emissions, the developed countries have a climate debt to developing countries,” said Navarro.

“This can be paid in two ways: the first is through substantial domestic reductions, and the second is by providing adequate financing and technology – not the numbers that they are putting on the table at this time in the negotiations,” she said.

“What worries us about the negotiations is that the ambitions are too low. The numbers that they are putting out there are so low that they would not really curb climate change,” said Navarro.

Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Pablo Solón Romero, stressed in a press conference the importance of recognising “the rights of Mother Earth.”

The diplomat, flanked by two representatives of indigenous groups, said the world must see that the Earth is being “enslaved.”

Romero called for more ambitious targets, such as a ceiling of a one to 1.5 degree Celsius rise in global temperatures, rather than the two degree limit being discussed in the negotiations.

“Because if we say that the goal is two degrees and 450 parts of a million (of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere), that means more than two degrees for Africa – and it means that a catastrophe lies ahead,” he said.

At the end of the news briefing, the Bolivian delegation exclaimed “Hayaya Pachamama!” which means “for the life of Mother Earth!” in the Quechua language.
(END/2009)

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