As the Executive Director of a respected international development thinktank and a senior scientist from the prestigious Stockholm Environment Institute today expressed concerns over the impending collapse of international UNFCCC climate negotiations, Bolivia's Ambassador Pablo Solon outlined a plan representing how ideas of both countries and civil society could move talks forward.
“Some countries want to talk about the ‘rules’ first, instead of this gap in commitment, but we know that rules will not reduce this gap," Ambassador Solon told reporters at the Bonn Talks this morning. "Fixing rules will simply prevent the gap from increasing, it won’t set about actually reducing emissions. The heart of the matter is the depth of pollution cuts.”
Solon proposed a six-step path:
1. Agreement on the size of the gap (12-14 Gigatonnes of C02e)“We believe the issue is much bigger than just commitments and targets, and that those considering human rights breaches are correct," Salon said. "For example, it is estimated that 47 million people will have to migrate because of climate change. We have been advocating for an international court of climate justice. This would monitor the impacts and the suffering not only of people but of mother earth because of climate change. For the glaciers in the Andes, desertification in Africa, disappearing small island states – they need to present demands and find justice and we are proposing it to these talks under work going forward.”
2. Recognise that developed countries will need to take a larger share of the reduction.
3. Agree on parameters for sharing the burden, based on historical responsibility and capacity of the parties.
4. Have developed countries’ emissions peak immediately.
5. Represent every countries’ target in terms of gigatonnes, defined as reductions from domestic emission levels and without the use of ‘offsets’.
6. Agreement on legal actions for parties that do not fulfil their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol (for a second commitment period) and under the Convention.
Earlier this morning, Martin Khor, Executive-Director of the South Centre, an intergovernmental thinktank that provides advice to developing country governments, expressed concerns that the international climate negotiations were on the brink of unraveling.
"We agreed in Bali in Dec 2007 to build a much stronger international climate regime to better cope with recent alarming analysis of the disastrous effects of climate change. But instead of achieving this new regime, we now see quite unbelievably an attempt to dismantle even the weaker regime that we now have." Mr Khor said.
At a joint press conference this morning, Dr. Sivan Kartha, senior scientist from the Stockholm Environment Institute(SEI), presented new figures showing developing countries are much more aggressively working to reduce climate pollution than the rich industriaized nations. Dr. Kartha's figures reveal that "under all of the scenarios on current pledges developing countries have pledged to reduce more gigatonnes in total than developed countries. Of greatest concern is that if the accounting loopholes are not closed off, developed countries could use them to be in technical compliance with even the upper estimates of their pledges, while their emissions are actually growing between now and 2020, and possibly even beyond."
"There's a false perception that we need to focus primarily on increasing ambition from emerging economies - these economies have put serious emission cuts on the table. It's the developed countries that need to actually reduce their emissions, and increase their commitment to provide finance and technology that will allow even greater reductions in developing countries, if we are to have any hope of keeping to a pathway that limits temperature rise to 1.5C or 2C." Dr. Kartha said.
Khor predicts the 'voluntary pledge' system, currently emerging as the most likely alternative to putting a legally binding system, will disincentivize developing countries "when they see those who are supposed to lead the process, falter instead." Under the voluntary pledge, there would be no formal system to either assess how adequate each country's target is or the collective efforts to adequately reduce GHG emissions by 2020.
"There is still hope for Durban, if enough developed countries decide they will stay with the Kyoto Protocol and fulfill its second commitment period starting 2013," said Khor. "And that those who stay out of Kyoto will make a comparable effort, inside the Convention (AWG-LCA). Developing countries for the first time are making targets, and those of the largest countries have been credible."
"We also hope that there will be sufficient progress on finance and technology, especially with the firm establishment in Durban of the Green Climate Fund, the Technology Mechanism and an Adaptation Committee -- three new institutions that are essential to assist developing countries. The negotiations on the Fund and the Technology Mechanism are so far progressing, but a spurt is needed to get final results in Durban."
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