Friday, 18 December 2009

Desperate negotiations to cut a climate deal before world leaders leave Copenhagen

Makereta Komai, PACNEWS, Climate Pasifika


Copenhagen, 18 December - With no imminent agreement in place as planned for Friday evening, meetings continued late into the night as negotiators desperately work to cut a deal to be signed by their leaders before they leave Copenhagen.  And the United Nations is reported to have asked world leaders to stay overnight, in anticipation of a likely agreement to be finalised Friday night.

“The secretary-general of the UN has asked people not to leave tonight,” European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dima told Reuters.  He said he was confident that leaders would eventually reach a deal.

“I cannot imagine 120 leaders going back to their countries with empty hands. Everyone expressed commitment to fight climate change. OK, do it,” he said.

A number of Pacific Island leaders have remained in the Danish city in the hope that they will leave Copenhagen with a deal in their favour.  A leading Pacific climate change negotiator, Ambassador Colin Beck of Solomon Islands said the Pacific, including the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) will not accept anything less than their ‘minimum’ position.

“As you know, our minimum position is to limit global temperature to well below 1.5 degrees and stabilise greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere to well below 350 part per million of carbon dioxide.  Global emissions should peak by no later than 2015 and to be reduced by 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.  Any outcome document or agreement that does not reflect that is an imposition of a death sentence on my people", said Ambassador Beck.
We will not accept anything less, and our leaders will not be party to an agreement that does not accept our position, he added.

As he prepared to sit it out with other Pacific negotiators for another night of marathon negotiations, he said, “We will fight until the end. This is not a question of how much money will be given by the developed and rich countries for adaptation and mitigation, but a matter of survival for our people.’
“There are certain elements in an agreement that can be negotiated. In our case, our 1.5 degrees to stay alive position is non-negotiable.  If not, then the world is signing the death certificate of vulnerable island states.”

Since no concrete climate deal was negotiated in time for the world leaders, negotiators have now being pressured to deliver something before they leave Copenhagen.”

Ambassador Beck said AOSIS countries were also disappointed with the approach taken by the Maldives, which is a member of the 43 member grouping.
“They seem to be taking an approach that runs counter to the AOSIS position.  They are part of the group of 24 countries that the President of the COP, the Danish Prime Minister conducted pre-COP consultations with."

Meanwhile, the so-called Copenhagen Accord that has emerged as the most likely text for the final outcome document has been rejected by a number of countries.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez criticised the UN climate conference for “a real lack of transparency”, speaking on behalf of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.  When he took the floor at the plenary, Friday afternoon, he accused US President Barack Obama of behaving like an emperor.

“He comes in the middle of the night … and cooks up a document, which we will not accept.” 

President Chávez said “all countries are equal”. 

He said the Bolivian Alliance group of nations will not accept a prepared text that is “slipped under the door” to be signed by others. 

“We can’t wait any longer, we are leaving … we are leaving, knowing that it wasn’t possible getting a deal,” he said. 

Ambassador Beck said there’s a real possibility that many countries will not sign on to the final document, if it doesn’t meet their expectations.

Leaders of India, China, Brazil and South Africa met this morning to discuss their positions as emerging economies.

“We all agreed that whatever document that comes out of Copenhagen must be transparent and inclusive, said Shyam Saran, India’s special climate change envoy.  He said, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart, Premier Wen Jiabao expressed their disappointment that they were not consulted by the President of COP for a political decision to move the negotiations forward.

“The Chinese leader told us that he was not invited to the political consultations held by the Danish PM Friday. My Prime Minister was equally disappointed by the process, said Ambassador Saran.
“What we are now told is that a 3-4 page declaration reflecting what we have agreed from the two documents (AWG-LCA and AWG-KP) will form the basis of the outcome document.

He said the four emerging economies are united in their view that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is not diluted, any post Copenhagen negotiations must be within the mandate of the Bali Plan  of Action and the Kyoto Protocol must be preserved

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