Delegates from around the world met in Bonn during the first two weeks of June to work on preparations for the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December. At the closing plenary of those meetings, Lim Li Lin of the Third World Network assessed the negotiating position of the developed countries. We already posted most of this in The Politics of Climate Change, but it’s worthwhile to read the whole statement.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am speaking on behalf of the Third World Network, a member of the Climate Justice Now! network which has over 240 member organizations.
We have listened closely to the discussions in the AWG-KP on Annex I Parties’ aggregate and individual emission reductions. We have heard the so-called “bottom-up”, and “politically acceptable” targets that a number of Annex I countries have proposed.
We are very upset and alarmed by the disregard that several Annex I countries are demonstrating towards the survival and well-being of our planet and humanity, and by their denial of a fair and equitable distribution of the Earth’s remaining atmospheric space.
Mr. Chairman, science informs us what the Earth’s limits are. This is non-negotiable. Developed countries, with 20% of the population, are responsible for 70% of historical emissions since 1850. This is more than 3 times their fair share of the atmospheric space.
At this session we heard the negative news from one Annex I country that it was only ready to cut emissions by 8% in 2020 from 1990 levels. Another country has pending legislation that is estimated to cut its emissions by only 4% by 2020 from 1990 levels, and with offsetting, the domestic cut is even less. Other Annex I countries may not yet have announced such low targets but this seems to be a race to the bottom or to the lowest common denominator, and is a gloomy scenario.
By proposing such low Annex I targets, developed countries are in fact asking people in the developing world to allow them to continue their over consumption of the Earth’s atmospheric space; and they are denying people in developing countries the space for their survival and development.
The Annex I countries are not taking on their historical responsibility but are instead increasing their climate debt. On top of that, we still have no sign of commitment from the developed countries on finance and technology.
A principled approach based on historical responsibility is the only way to quantify subsequent Annex I Party commitments in a fair and non-arbitrary manner.
Mr. Chairman, the people in the developing world want to contribute to solving the climate crisis, for the benefit of the planet and all humanity. But this contribution must be fair and just.
What is “politically acceptable” in the rich, industrialised North is just not enough. It will mean climate chaos and destruction first and worst in the South, and also in the North. This is unacceptable.
Another concern is the apparent attempt at this session in Bonn by many Annex I countries to kill the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is not expiring in 2012, unlike what some countries want the world to believe. The second commitment period begins in 2013 and it should be honoured by sufficiently deep cuts in Annex I countries.
Proposals for dismantling the Kyoto Protocol and to drastically change the Convention are a recipe for disaster. We appeal to these countries that are attempting this betrayal of the Protocol and Convention to give up this attempt which would lead to a failure in Copenhagen.
The work of the AWG-KP must be focused and in line with its legal mandate. The task before us is urgent and the CMP in Copenhagen must adopt the amendment to Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol, and establish Annex I Parties’ emission reductions that are deep enough to ensure that we are on track to save the world from the climate change disaster.
This work is of the utmost priority, and this should be reflected in the time allocated to this work, the issues and documents that are before the AWG-KP, and a singular focus on the amendment to the Kyoto Protocol according to its mandate in Article 3.9.
We hope that the Parties can get back on track as soon as possible.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.