Oct 09, 2009
Today is the last day of the Bangkok climate talks. However, in two weeks of negotiations there has been very little discussion on some of the key political issues that are necessary to ensure that we have a just climate change agreement in Copenhagen. Steph Long, one of FoEI's Climate Coordinators, explains.
It's been a fairly acrimonious two weeks with possibly the highest level of mistrust and tension between negotiating parties in recent years.
In the past two weeks there has been a notable display of innovation: though not at all of the kind of innovation we need, such as declarations to keep the oil in the soil, the coal in the hole and the tar sands in the land - but innovative redefinition of what it means to be historically responsible for climate change.
In attempts to get the US into the climate agreement, developed countries are proposing to junk the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (the only international legally binding treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) and arguing that this is the only way to get an effective action on climate change.
After South Africa proposed a means to limit the amount of offsetting that developed countries could use in meeting emissions reduction targets, the New Zealand government was quoted as saying "but if we put limits on offsetting, we would have to move our target to zero".
developed vs developing
A member of the Australian government delegation proposed that we "smooth over" the distinction between developed and developing countries.
After fielding critical questions about the USA government's refusal to enter into an agreement with stringent international compliance; one of their lead negotiators responded with "China has not agreed to any international compliance in last 20 years." [there is the minor level of compliance required in TRIPS and trade agreements for one....]
Developing countries have offered sharp retorts to developed country proposals which also deserve recognition:
In response to developed countries proposals to expand offset markets, the
government of Venezuela on behalf of several Latin American countries
responded "It is simply unfair, unreasonable and unhelpful to hide the conflicting economic interests of developed countries behind efforts to reenact olden days 'land- grabs' by modern days 'sky-grabs'."
In response to developed countries refusal to accept proposals that will required them to finance the mitigation, adaptation and technology transfer needs of developing countries, through new democratic financial institutions rather than the World Bank; the government of Philippines on behalf of the G77+China offered developing countries "Capacity building on how to fulfil Convention obligations."
So, one of the inspiration outcomes of the Bangkok climate talks is the force with which developing countries are refusing to accept the backtracking of developed countries to meet their legal and historical obligations.
Next stop Barcelona. Find out more.
Oct 08, 2009
International climate change negotiations are underway in Bangkok, Thailand. Karen Orenstein and Kate Horner from Friends of the Earth US are there following the developments and reporting back.
Oct 05, 2009
Friends of the Earth International is demonstrating with thousands of Asian and international climate justice activists and representatives of affected communities in Bangkok, Thailand. Steph Long, climate coordinator, writes from Bangkok.
Our civil society debates, demonstrations and forums coincide with the UN climate talks - the fourth gathering of the year in preparation to the climate summit in Copenhagen this December.
The civil society program has included daily mobilisations demanding the repayment of the climate debt, the exclusion of the World Bank and other international financial institutions from climate finance, and the rights of indigenous peoples, fisherfolk and women to be protected.
The forums have focussed on articulating how we can achieve climate justice - real solutions to climate change that don't risk either people or the planet.
Meanwhile the official climate talks have been significantly undermined by the regressive position of wealthy industrialised countries, particularly the US, who are failing to meet their obligations to accept emissions reduction targets and financing for developing countries in line with what science requires.
This is wearing thin the patience of many developing countries who are now questioning whether an agreement in Copenhagen is possible with such limited political will of the developed countries.