Significant pressure needed for a just outcome in Copenhagen
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Sustainable Development - Thu Sep 03 2009
Source: Friends of the Earth Blog
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By Phil Lee

The process to date on negotiations that are going to culminate at talks in Copenhagen this December has been thoroughly lamentable.

Posted 26 August 2009

Friends of the Earth International has been following the UN climate change negotiations for over 14 years. Now more than ever we believe that an unprecedented amount of pressure is needed to force the wealthy industrialised countries of the world to create a just agreement on climate change. But the process to date on negotiations that are going to culminate at talks in Copenhagen this December has been thoroughly lamentable.

There are two fundamental requirements for a just international climate agreement that are already enshrined in the UN climate convention. Firstly, that rich industrialised countries that are historically responsible for pumping out emissions for hundreds of years must reduce emissions first and fastest. Secondly, that these same nations must finance the adaptation needs, technology sharing and mitigation actions of Southern countries.

But a number of wealthy industrialised countries are questioning the principle of historical responsibility and shifting the blame onto major developing countries such as India and China. Yet whilst climate change requires global action the historical responsibility for the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions over the past 250 years lies with the industrialised countries of the Global North.

The distinct lack of achievement of the talks so far falls squarely on the shoulders of the rich industrialised countries. After 16 years, and despite the rhetoric we have heard about urgency, these countries are still failing to take the climate crisis seriously and realise their obligations under the UN climate convention. Instead, most wealthy industrialised countries have spent the majority of precious negotiating time crafting get-out-clauses and offsetting schemes at the expense of genuine reductions in emissions.

Now time is running short – for both the impending December 2009 negotiation deadline and for the planet.

In addition to massive domestic reductions of at least 40% reductions on 1990 levels by 2020, rich industrialised countries must commit to finance genuine low-carbon development in the Global South. Negotiations on forest protection must ensure that custodial rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities are genuinely protected. Monoculture tree plantations have to be excluded from the definition of forests and there must be an absolute rejection of the privatisation of forests through market-based schemes.

Across the world we have to let political leaders know that anything less that this is unacceptable.

 
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