Fairness must guide Bonn climate talks: UN must not cede to weak US proposals
BONN, GERMANY – On May 31 the first major UN climate negotiations will begin following the disastrous talks in Copenhagen last December. Friends of the Earth International is calling on Yvo de Boer – the outgoing UNFCCC Executive Secretary – to ensure that the interests of all countries are represented fairly.
Unbalanced negotiating text
The international federation of grassroots environmental activists warns that the UN must be bold and fair to avoid a repeat of the United States bullying tactics that overshadowed Copenhagen – which saw the world backed into a corner at the 11th hour, forcing a deal on the sidelines of the UN that could commit the world to more than a 4 degree temperature rise.
The weak provisions of the “Copenhagen Accord” – which was not adopted by the UNFCCC – now feature prominently in official negotiating text following a submission from US negotiators. Meanwhile alternative proposals by other governments have been completely disregarded in the preparations for Bonn negotiations. In particular, Bolivia’s official submissions contained many new good proposals following the World Peoples Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia in April.
Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International, said:
“The Bolivian Peoples Summit was designed to provide hope and solutions following the discord in Copenhagen. This event was supported by more than 35,000 people from local, regional and international social movements, NGOs and progressive governments, who collectively came up with new ideas to offer the UN ambitious and fair proposals. It’s disturbing to see such proposals have been ignored by the UNFCCC, while the entire United States submission has been cut and pasted in full. The UNFCCC is supposed to treat all government submissions equally and should certainly include perspectives from the countries most affected by climate change.”
Real climate finance needed
Finance for developing countries – those least responsible for climate change yet who face its worst impacts – is top of the agenda for Bonn. Friends of the Earth International is calling for all developed countries to pledge sufficient public money through the UNFCCC, additional to existing aid budgets, and ensure this finance supports the aims and struggles of grassroots communities. The UN has suggested between US$200 – 500 billion annually would be required for developing countries to adapt to the effects of climate change and to grow cleanly.
Tom Picken, International Climate Campaigner with Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said:
“Developed countries have so far said they will provide US$10 billion per year until 2013, yet a large proportion of even this paltry amount is intended to be stolen from existing aid budgets instead of comprising new and additional money. In a bitter twist, the US has said that they will also deny money to countries who oppose their weak climate proposals under the Copenhagen Accord – despite the fact the Accord exonerates the United States from their historical responsibility and will ultimately hurt developing countries the most.”
Friends of the Earth International is also calling on rich countries to reaffirm their commitment to their legally binding obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, where rich countries accept their responsibility for causing climate change by agreeing to cut their emissions first and fastest. New Kyoto targets for a second commitment period for industrialised countries of at least 40 per cent reductions – without offsetting – is the minimum requirement to provide any chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.
EU must resist industry lobbying
Friends of the Earth International is also calling on the EU to unilaterally increase its emissions target to at least 40 per cent domestic cuts by 2020. This week, the European Commission published research on the impacts of moving from the current 20 per cent unilateral target to 30 per cent. The powerful industry lobby is fiercely resisting this move however, jeopardising EU credibility on the international stage.
Susann Scherbarth, Climate Justice and Energy Campaigner with Friends of the Earth Europe, said:
“Connie Hedegaard has taken a cautious first step in outlining the move to a 30 percent target, but has fallen short of what’s needed/. Even 30 percent cuts by 2020 will get us only part of the way. Domestic emissions cuts of at least 40 percent by 2020 – without offsetting – are the minimum needed for the EU to do its fair share to avoid catastrophic climate change. 40 per cent cuts are not only possible, but affordable and necessary as recent research from Friends of the Earth demonstrates. The new climate commissioner must now take on the powerful lobbies in Europe holding back progress.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International, +234 803 727 4395, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Picken, International Climate Campaigner Friends of the Earth England, Wales & Northern Ireland, +44 7810 558247, email@example.com
Susann Scherbarth, Climate Justice and Energy Campaigner Friends of the Earth Europe, +32 486 34 1837, firstname.lastname@example.org