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Cold Spell In Copenhagen

By Marianne de Nazareth

09 December, 2009

Copenhagen: Suddenly freezing Copenhagen has become even colder now for developing nations across the world. At a press briefing where HE Ambassador Lumumba Stanislaus Di- Aping the lone speaker on the dais representing G77 and China spoke in measured sepulchral tones stating that the Danish proposed text is a ‘dangerous document’ for developing countries. The UNFCCC is the only legitimate form for conducting negotiations he said, and this text comes from the office of the Prime Minister of Denmark. This proposed text he said destroys developing countries aspirations of the Copenhagen negotiations. It does not speak of ‘common but differentiated roles’ of developed and developing countries. It denies the historic responsibility for damaging the atmosphere by these countries. Instead the text pushes forward and demands a new treaty instrument which effectively kills the Kyoto protocol and merges the LCA and KP tracks. This proposal is a disguised notion to divide developing countries into the vulnerable and the less vulnerable. Then the vulnerable will be given fast track finance to adapt to Climate change. He likened it to a Bretton Woods sort of takeover of the UNFCCC which stands for a fair and binding treaty. Instead he said, it’s the return of the Empire which then relentlessly grabbed natural resources from the developing nations. Now the new global resource to grab is global atmospheric space.

He went on to say that in his humble view, the secretary General needs to reflect on his role on the Climate Change issue. As the good shepherd he needs to be an honest broker of the deal and not favour one global power block against the other. Instead the deal should be just and equitable and should aim at bringing about radical reductions of emissions by developed countries so that it can bring about a global economic green revolution. The UN’s main goal is to facilitate co-operation across the globe and we cannot have a just deal without the US and President Obama. The US should join the Kyoto Protocol and should commit for an ambitious goal of cutting emissions by 2020. This is because the US is the world’s largest emitter of GHG and just 4% reduction in emissions will not save Africa and many other developing countries. The Danish text which President Obama is in favour of is an unfair and inequitable deal and we humbly ask President Obama not to close the door to multilateral discussion and agreement he said.

To questions raised by journalists about the fact that Tuvalu plans to walk out of the negotiations, he said the Prime Minister of Denmark is desperate for success at any cost. He is willing to destroy the negotiations for the price of his political career and ambition. He should instead look at a balanced deal which looks at what developing countries are asking for and take the middle road. Suspension of negotiations is not fruitful at this juncture. The G77 has committed to negotiations and hopefully common sense and wisdom will prevail. What is the use of a deal that will destroy the word he asked.

To a question that India plans to walk out of the negotiations the Ambassador said, that India had put forward its minimum demands and like the other developing countries it is looking at how to achieve them. Quitting has never been India’s option out.

He went on to say that he was not convinced that the Danish proposal will be accepted by world leaders and civil society. What legacy will we leave our children, he asked.

But he ended the briefing by firmly saying, “ Do not be surprised if the G77 produces its own text in response. Parties in this conference must be allowed to negotiate and produce a meaningful result. It is the role of the President of the conference to facilitate all parties in an open and transparent way.”

(The writer is a fellow with the UNFCCC and is reporting from Copenhagen)

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