Saturday 19 December 2009

24hrs@COP15: A day in the life of a climate change negotiator

Lisa Williams-Lahari, Climate Pasifika Media

Friday 18 December 2009, COPENHAGEN--In week two of the COP15, Climate Pacific asked a few women negotiators here to document a 24 hour period starting from 6am Wed to 6am Thurs 16th. The women were assigned a key task: to note their whereabouts and environment whenever they found time throughout the day, in an effort to bring us into the world of some of the most important lobbyists on the planet.
WHO: DIANE McFadzien: WWF International Programme Coordinator, Asia Pacific International Policy Coordinator, Cook Islander. 

6am, Wed 15th December
I was still in the LCA plenary - barely awake. The plenary had not even started until nearly 5am, after a night of endless waiting and then closed room discussions within the group of 77 - all because larger polluters (US and China) were not willing to comit to actions to reduce GHG's in a way that would have a real benefit to the atmosphere). Am waiting for Cook Islands to to make an intervention on the LCA adaptation text.
6.45am: walking through the cold winds, out to the nearest taxi rank, to get home - after a straight 24 hour working session.
7am: Am stuck in rush hour Danish traffic. It's ironic. I'm trying to get home to SLEEP, but fighting traffic from all the Danes trying to start their working day.
11am: Got out of bed after only 3.5 hours sleep, and got ready to go to the Bella center...but, was warned by friends that there was a demonstration going out on outside and that it would be difficult to get back in. So - watched the demonstration on TV, while watching the COP plenary via webcast on my lap top, from the warmth of our apartment. The TV footage confirmed NGO's were protesting the removal of civil society groups from the process - lots of drama, police, dogs, heliopters, batons and tear gas. And all the while it snowed outside.
Meanwhile, on the webcast via internet, I watched the plenary where the Danish presidency dropped 2 bomb shells:
1) resignation of Connie as President of COP, to be replaced by PM Rasmussen, the same man who flew from meeting to meeting, around the world, in advance of the COP, watering down ambition levels of governments, and the same man who held a breakfast meeting with APEC countries in Singapore, in November and told them all that it was not possible to get a legally binding deal! 2) the Danish president announced that he would be puttng a text on the table as the basis for further negotiation (which caused great confusion and uproar amongst parties, especially those from develpoing countries, as they wondered where that left the text that they had worked on for two years. It also made us all wonder - why the hell did we stay up until 7am trying to get this text passed the night before, if the Danish PM was now going to throw it all off the table and start with his own anyway?
Many agitated comments from G77 countries followed these announcements.
1pm: Managed to get into the Bella center - but had to get off one train stop later than normal (normal stop was closed due to demonstrations) and walked through snow flurries to get into the conference venue. Two words. Bloody freezing.
3pm: Waiting to find out what the heck is happening. Nobody (govts, NGO's alike) seemed to have any sense of what was going on. Rumors were flying. Climate Action Network mailing lists were working over time, and my phone was beeping constantly with rumors being sent in from NGO contacts. Negotiation drafting groups had all closed down, and the only 'negotiations' going on now were the non- transparent bilaterals behind closed doors - ie countries lobbying each other individually to talk about where to from here. Everybody trying to find out what was contained in the Danish text.
6pm: Really fed up with all the waiting, and starting to get tired again. Still no answers on when the plenary would happen, what was in the Danish text, who had even seen it, or how the meeting would proceed from here on in.
8pm: Realised that both the Tuvalu and Cook Islands PM's were about to speak. Found that the nearest CCTV screen to the WWF office was in the EU pavillion - not sure if non EU people were allowed there, watched both speeches via TV (Isn't it ironic that due to security measures we were locked out of the plenary where these speeches were being made, and they were presenting to EMPTY ROOMS? I could see all the empty seats in the plenary on the TV). Tuvalu's speech was especially moving. It really made me think about all that Tuvalu had done for us this last week - sticking their necks right out there, trying to ensure a legally binding agreement - while all the time being subject to so much negative pressure (sent a text to Ian to congratulate them, once the PM's speech was over). Watched our own PM on TV also - and thought the drafting team did a great job.
10pm: COP plenary finally started. Finally, it was confirmed that we would go back to the text that Parties had spent the last two years negotiating and that work (ie negotiations) would resume again tomorrow.
12pm (midnight) went to join my NGO colleagues who were strategising in the AOSIS office. NGO's are now pretty much locked out of the process. WWF, GP and Oxfam decided to stage a peaceful 'sit in'. Not a formal action, but decided that as a sign of solidarity we would work in the building until asked to leave. Isn't it ironic that the very Convention that allows civil society access to these UN meetings was actually signed in DENMARK - the first country which has had such terrible NGO access to these meetings?
2am: Finally got into bed - was delayed at the train station for 30 mins, due to delays on the train line. Was also freezing cold, as when we got out at 1.30am (considered an EARLY NIGHT!) I was shocked to find that a real BLIZZARD was going on - snow everywhere, and my foot wear was not really so good for this, so was sliding about all over the place. The train delay didn't make things better either. We had to stand on the open platform, exposed to the wind. It was made better by NGO friends from Brazil and India who where there too so we managed to huddle!
6am Thursday: Alarm went off - time to get up again -- but turned it off and decided that for once I was taking the second not the first shower out of the five of us in this apartment. We share a great apartment, but keep strict shower schedules! ENDS

Countries to examine Copenhagen Accord before signing, Yves de Boer

Makereta Komai, PACNEWS, Climate Pasifika
Copenhagen, 19 December - United Nations climate chief is not ready to step down, despite the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change summit, which ended with no legally binding deal.
Instead, contrary to what most countries are claiming as a failure, Yves de Boer maintains the two week meeting created a ‘political engagement never seen in the history of the United Nations.
“If I felt responsible, I’d be long gone and if I’m not responsible for what happened, then I shouldn’t take the consequences. If I were to go, I would do it on high rather than on a low.
“But I don’t agree with the claims that this conference was a disaster. The fact world leaders from the European Union, Brazil, China, India, Japan, United States, Maldives, Lesotho and some of the vulnerable countries come together to have a collective consultation and captured their discussions in an agreement through their own handiwork, I think is politically significant, said de Boer.
He admitted however that the Copenhagen Accord is only a framework that can be turned into a legally binding agreement in the future.
“It’s an indication of a willingness to move forward, the ingredients of an architect of an agreement that can respond to the challenges of climate change.
“That means we have a lot of work to do on the road to Mexico.
Hiding his disappointment that COP15 was unable to achieve what it was tasked to do, de Boer said, Mexico should try and accomplish what Copenhagen couldn’t.
“COP16 should try and establish a legally binding treaty under the Convention that brings on board the United States, which captures action from the major developing economies, that sets 2020 targets and defines long term goal and vision that creates a strong financial architecture that mobilises resources for technology for capacity building and adaptation.
“Any agreement outcome must ensure the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, said de Boer.
Copenhagen Accord
An agreement dubbed the Copenhagen Accord drawn up by a limited group of countries on Friday night was formally accepted by the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP15) during a closing session on Saturday morning.
“The conference of the parties takes note of the Copenhagen Accord,” says a final decision.
When questioned on the status of the Accord, in terms of the UNFCCC processes, de Boer said, ‘The Conference of the Parties has noted the Copenhagen Accord.
“In that decision there is recognition from COP that a deal is there. It does not matter where the deal lives, what matters are that a number of world leaders pulled the deal off when negotiators couldn’t.
“It’s now the responsibility of those leaders to take it forward and for us to find a home for the Copenhagen Accord in the UNFCCC process, said de Boer.
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon said, “We have sealed the deal.
“This accord cannot be everything that everyone hoped for, but it is an essential beginning,” he said.
The Copenhagen Accord recognises the scientific view that an increase in global temperature below 2 degrees is required to stave off the worst effects of climate change.
In order to achieve this goal, the Accord specifies that industrialised countries will commit to implement, individually or jointly, quantified economy-wide emissions targets from 2020, to be listed in the accord before 31 January 2010.
A number of developing countries, including major emerging economies, agreed to communicate their efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions every two years, also listing their voluntary pledges before the 31 January 2010.
Nationally appropriate mitigation actions seeking international support are to be recorded in a registry along with relevant technology, finance and capacity building support from industrialised nations.
“We must be honest about what we have got,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary
Yvo de Boer. “The world walks away from Copenhagen with a deal. But clearly ambitions to reduce emissions must be raised significantly if we are to hold the world to 2 degrees,” he added.
Because the pledges listed by developed and developing countries may, according to science, be found insufficient to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees or less, leaders called for a review of the accord, to be completed by 2015.
The review would include a consideration of the long-term goal to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.
“We now have a package to work with and begin immediate action,” said
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer. “However, we need to be clear that it is a letter of intent and is not precise about what needs to be done in legal terms. So the challenge is now to turn what we have agreed politically in Copenhagen into something real, measurable and verifiable,” he added.
The next annual UN Climate Change Conference will take place towards the end of 2010 in Mexico City, preceded by a major two week negotiating session in Bonn, Germany, scheduled 31 May to 11 June.
Will countries endorse the Copenhagen Accord?
The text of the Copenhagen deal is still strongly debated, and it remains to be seen how many countries endorsed negotiations on Saturday morning, 24 hours after the formal session came to an end.
Danish Prime Minister Lar Lokke Rasmussen was satisfied with the outcome document,
“We have achieved a result. Now nations will need to sign on, and if they do so, they will support what has been agreed (in the Copenhagen Accord). This will have effect immediately, said PM Rasmussen.
De Boer did not want to divulge the names of countries that have put their names to the Copenhagen Accord.
“There is an opportunity now for countries to sign up to the agreement or indicate to the Secretariat their desire to join at a later date. They also have the liberty to put their targets or emissions goal on the table or to say what they willing to contribute financially They will also have to indicate if they want to be part of the technology mechanism.
“In a way, today’s outcome framework is a vehicle designed for countries to choose what they want to do, within the areas covered in the Accord.
De Boer said a vast majority of nations expressed their support at the conclusion of the negotiations early Saturday morning.
“I would expect many of them sign up. Some parties were a little nervous because it’s a frame work that talks about engagement that talks about measuring, reporting and verification.
Many Pacific countries have in principle agreed to take the Accord to their capitals for final endorsement.
As at the closure of COP15, there were mixed responses from Pacific countries.
“Some countries have agreed to adopt a wait and see situation but most will refer the Copenhagen Accord back to their capitals.
“This is not what we came here for. We have maintained our position, and that of other Alliance of Small Island States, all along the negotiation process, and if that is not reflected in the final outcome, then we will not accept the document, said Solomon Islands chief negotiator and Vice President of COP, Ambassador Colin Beck.
What was on the doorstop but didn’t happen
The major developing countries of China, India, Brazil, Japan and South Africa came to Copenhagen with their national action plans that would take emissions to about 28 percent below the business as usual path.
“That is significant because in the equation of rich countries doing -25-40 percent by 2020, there is the other range by developing countries deviating 15-30 percent from business as usual.
“From that commitment, it appears that developing countries are more on track to responding to the sciences than the industrialised world.
“But we did not capture those numbers in the agreement, said de Boer.
Similarly, with the short term financing mechanism, we received significant offers from developed countries.
“If we add it all up – we have received on our way to Copenhagen 23 billion in pledges towards short term financing but we did not succeed in capturing that short term finance in an agreement and a break down in who will contribute what.
“A great deal of energy was invested, a great deal was within our grasp but they were, in the final analysis, not captured in the final outcome document.
The UN climate talks in Copenhagen were inches away from total failure and ended with an outcome far too weak to tackle dangerous climate change, WWF said today.
“Copenhagen was at the brink of failure due to poor leadership combined with an unconvincing level of ambition”, said Kim Carstensen, Leader of WWF’s Global Climate Initiative.
“Well meant but half-hearted pledges to protect our planet from dangerous climate change are simply not sufficient to address a crisis that calls for completely new ways of collaboration across rich and poor countries.”
Politicians around the world seem to be in agreement that we must stay below the 2 degree threshold of unacceptable risks of climate change – in theory. However, practically what leaders have put on the table adds up to 3 degrees celsius of warming or more, according to WWF estimates.
“Millions of lives, hundreds of billions of dollars and a wealth of lost opportunities lie in the difference between rhetoric and reality on climate change action.”
Attention will now shift to follow up negotiations which need to fill out many details in the often vague accord – and, on a more positive note, to a host of initiatives by countries, cities, companies and communities that are starting to build low carbon economies from the base up.
WWF analysed the conference outcome against a 10 element scorecard, finding that none of the objectives needed to fulfil the political aim of keeping average global warming below the widely agreed 2 degree celsius high risk level had been met, although some had been partly fulfilled.
The draft Copenhagen Accord is a long way from developing into a legally binding framework for decisive action on climate change.
“We needed a treaty now and at best, we will be working on one in half a year’s time,” said Carstensen.
“What we have after two years of negotiation is a half-baked text of unclear substance. With the possible exceptions of US legislation and the beginnings of financial flows, none of the political obstacles to effective climate action have been solved.”
The UN climate chief is banking on the political will shown in Copenhagen to push further discussions and implementation of the Accord.
“We have seen a huge political engagement at this session. We have seen leaders from large and small countries, north and south engaging with each other in a way that has never happened before. We have finally seen willing commitment to put money on the table. The challenge for the coming year is to capitalise on that and turn into something that is real, measurable and verifiable.
WWF said the the lack of clarity in Copenhagen is illustrated by a call for a global peak in emissions “as soon as possible”, in contrast to the 2007 call of the IPCC for emissions to peak in 2017.
Emissions reductions pledges remain far lower than what is required, with a leaked analysis by the UNFCCC secretariat showing a shortfall that would lead to 3 degrees C of warming even without considering extensive loopholes.
“We are disappointed but the story continues,” said Carstensen. “Civil society was excluded from these final negotiations to an extraordinary degree, and that was felt during the concluding days in Copenhagen.”
“We can assure the world, however, that WWF and other elements of civil society will continue engaging in every step of further negotiations.”

Tuvalu -- first islands to go are the last ones standing on procedure at COP15

Lisa Williams-Lahari, Climate Pasifika media
Saturday 19 December 2009, COPENHAGEN-- Hours before the COP15 closed on Saturday afternoon, Tuvalu's lead negotiator Ian Fry was still one of the lone Pacific voices at the Bella Centre venue. Fry red-flagged the agenda item which saw him hit the international headlines early last week. The controversial agenda item 5 had been submitted according to the UNFCCC COP rules of procedure but a request for the set up of a transparent contact group process rather than informal consultations planned by the COP15 President led to the Day 2 suspension of the COP.
On Day 13, as the plenary struggled through text of the working group on Long term cooperative actions, Tuvalu put up its hand to note the outstanding agenda item 5 and proposed adding the words legally binding to a paragraph referred to as L6. That sparked a back and forth row between countries against and in support of the additions; before discussion on the item was deferred to a contact group of 'interested parties 'in the wings of the plenary.
By the end of the meeting at 2.30 local time, Ambassador Colin Beck, presiding over the COP, said the agenda item 5 had not been able to be addressed and would be put on the provisional agenda of COP16 as per rules of procedure. For WWF International's Diane McFadzien, the lack of process and transparency has been disappointing. (see below)
TRANSCRIPT: Diane McFadzien, WWF International, COP veteran-- legitimately-produced draft texts on the table. Tuvalu's included. But the limelight given to Tuvalu which allowed AOSIS to highlight its concerns to global media and the COP stage owed much to the efforts of one lone negotiator. Ian Fry has had to couple the pressures of negotiations at COP and a duty to Tuvalu with a wave of hate-publicity back home in Australia and diplomatic bullying aimed at his exclusion from advising his leaders.  It's built a wave of anti-Australia perceptions amongst the Pacific officials still smarting from their treatment at the Forum and CHOGM and earned him the sympathy and respect of many in AOSIS, and especially of his team.
I mean that's been a major disappointment . Under the Convention there is an element in there which allows you to put forth protocols saying you must do so six months in advance. Tuvalu followed all the correct legal procedures, and it put it on the table six months in advance. It was made availabel to all the parties, it was put on the website, everyone could access it, but here, nobody's given it the time of day.
Tuvalu has been amongst the most vocal Pacific nations against the Copenhagen Accord, already widely perceived as being some kind of Outcomes document for COP15. More questions and confusion were the tone of today's to and fro on process and rules of procedure, which eventually showed that the Accord has only been noted by COP, not adopted by it. However given its powerful backing and a list of disenchanted countries whose leaders want to save face at home, the Accord is likely to gain credibility unless COP does a massive awareness-raising exercise on its
Said one prominent Tuvalu activist:
"We're proud of what Ian Fry has done for Tuvalu. He's put us on the map when all the developed countries here seem determined to wipe us off the face of the Earth. He is a valued member of our team, and I feel sorry for all the treatment he's received just because he stood up for people who need help to stand up at these big meetings."

TRANSCRIPT: Ian Fry, Tuvalu negotiator, COP15
LWL: Being Australian and on the side of the Pacific nations who all of a sudden despite the Pacific Forum solidarity, now face being across the room in terms of position from Australia and NZ, what's that like?
Ian Fry: Well obviously it's difficult. I've been working for the Tuvalu government the last 11 years and trying to do my best for the Tuvalu government. But it's obviously difficult. There's been a lot of pressure put on me personally in the recent days about my situation, being an Australian working for the Tuvalu government. --ENDS

UN COP process: insights from Pacific's Nobel Peace Prize winner

Lisa Williams-Lahari, Climate Pasifika Media
Thursday 17 December 2009, COPENHAGEN-- In 2007, he became the first Pacific Islander to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as one of the lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In 2009, Dr Graham Sem was amongst those at COP15 predicting tough decisions for AOSIS members making up the island nations of the world, as the cracks started to show in their 1.5 to stay alive solidarity.
Sem, of Papua New Guinea, has made climate change his life's passion, travelling the globe helping communities and countries deal with its impacts. 
His work experience with UNFCCC, IPCC, and SPREP eventually led him to his Nobel Prize-winning role in 2007 as one of the the lead authors for the IPCC, and he is amongst those picking up on the differences between COP15 and process of previous COP meetings.
"The difference with this COP is we don't have an actual text that has been agreed to," he says.
"The difference here is we really do not have a text." ( The Copenhagen Accord, an agreement by some of the high level meeting leaders has not been adopted by the COP because its inception and tabling was in breach of COP rules of procedure.)
While the Copenhagen Accord put forward by one group of COP heavyweights is still copping flak for lack of transparency and due process when other proposed texts have been ignored, Sem says other changes also have their pros and cons, amongst them, the two-track process for negotiations aimed at making approaches to Climate change work more effective and equitable.The AWGKP (Ad-hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol)  tries to strengthen committments of developed countries and the LCA (Long-term Cooperative Actions) supposed to be inclusive of all developing countries, also tries to lock in commitment towards collective action.
His words provide food for thought as Pacific delegations head home facing an uncertain climate-change future. Once their Christmas and New Years gatherings are over, island nations; already exhausted by accepting or refusing the much-debated Copenhagen Accord,  COP, will soon have to ramp up their voice and engagement to ensure they don't suffer the same fate at COP16.

TRANSCRIPT: Dr Graham Sem--
Sem: We have to start thinking long term, I mean we are not negotiating this for ourselves now, because we are already hit by historical emissions but we are negotiating here for the long term, our children and their children so we have to strike a balance with the needs we have now and our evolving needs of our generations to come. You know I think it's going to be a difficult challenge for AOSIS countries.

LWL: But given the power imbalance here, are we really negotiating fairly and as equal partners, given the power plays that are being done here?

Sem: No. I think we have been made to believe, that there was some equality among different countries and groups but as you have seen in the last few days, some of the heavy weights started to make interventions that are not useful for the long term goals that we had anticipated to achieve here.--ENDS

Giving a shirt for the environment-- and educating the future: innovation@COP15

 Lisa Williams-Lahari, Climate Pasifika Media
Friday 18 December 2009, COPENHAGEN-- One of the great things about an event like COP 15 is the innovation and 'best practice' that comes out to be replicated, shared, unveiled. We caught up with New York-based journalist and lecturer Don Carli who joined the throngs at COP15 juggling more than a fancy digital camera. He was also here fundraising for the ReShirt initiative, which he shares here with our team: 

TRANSCRIPT: Hi I'm Don Carling, Senior Research Fellow with the Institute for Sustainable Communication in New York, here at the COP15 meeting in Copenhagen. And while I'm doing my duties as a member of the media in covering the COP, I'm also here talking about Hopenhagen and the Eco 360 Hopenhagen re-shirt that the institute produced to raise money for college scholarships ner city youth. So we're working with the UN and the Hopenhgen team, we came up with a concept to raise money for scholarships with what we call our re-shirt, thats rethinking the t-shirt. This is a t-shirt made of 100% recycled PET bottles, it's printed digitally in a process that uses no water and of course we all know the dying of fabric is a major source of water pollution. It's also manufacured in the US in LA by small family businesses and 100percent of the proceeds from this program go to support inner city youth that need help with their college scholarships. So we call it the Re-Shirt and we're asking people this year don't buy a shirt, give a shirt. And the trust mark we put on it is about our commitment to walking the talk. Letting the medium be the message. --ENDS

Gender@COP15: more awareness needed, says former FSM Attorney-General

Lisa Williams-Lahari, Climate Pasifika Media
Friday 19 December 2009, COPENHAGEN--They were loud and proud at the NGO Clima Forum held outside the official COP15 venue where Fiji's Ashwini Prahba, now of WWF International was a powerful part of the lobbying. They were visible and strong at the side events and planning sessions of the Gender caucuses within the wings of COP15, where Pacific WAVE Coordinator Ulamila Wragg presented on a panel alongside Mary Robinson. But overall, COP15 was a copout for gender activists who wanted to see specific and stronger language  to highlight the vulnerability of women and children, and the social injustices deepened by the impact of climate change. Meanwhile, for FSM-based lawyer and activist Marstella Jack, the largest challenge when it comes to gender and climate change remains awareness at ground zero to drive the messages home. The former Attorney-General of FSM spent two decades with women and gender issues in the public service before making the switch to private practice, NGOism where she currently sits on the Climate Action Network's board of directors. She says we need to step up on gender issues and how they affect human and food security in changing climate conditions:

TRANSCRIPT: Marstella Jack, Lawyer, Climate change activist, FSM

Marstella Jack: In the Pacific we have the problem of women being marginalised, not women -- but our issues, our women's issues. We have that problem so to add on climate change just exacerbates the development issues that affect women. So I think we also need to sensitise our leaders about this dynamic of climate change and gender. We have a lot of work ahead of us and I hope we can get all right people in the pacific and in our island countries to do this and partner up with the government, with our leaders to work on this.

(On the questions of awareness by our Pacific women and climate change as a cross cutting issues):

Their understanding on climate change?The issue itself is that ''oh, something is changing in the atmostphere, it's getting hot, hotter these days"... but thats the limit of what they know about climate change. They dont understand the cross cutting issues with respect to how its affecting our health, with respect to how it's affecting how we collect food, how we plant or how we basically provide for our families...subsistence living. They have very little if any understanding of climate change and how it affects our daily lives in the Pacific. I think they also understand that the sea level is rising but that's about it. I think we need a lot of empowerment work to get to our women, to get to the grass roots.--ENDS

COPfusion reigns as Accord debate eats at process and final hours.

Lisa Williams-Lahari, Climate Pasifika media
Saturday 19 December 2009, COPENHAGEN-- While Venezuela, Bolivia and other countries stood to stop the Copenhagen Accord from gaining credibility as a COP15 'compromise' text and the US said the first paragraph made it a COP position, the arguments dragged on between process and compromise.  The non-binding accord, delivered in the wings of a COP meeting and outside of text offered up within COP's own rules and processes, was put before COP by the US and a handful of countries within COP's 193-nations attending.
Despite the recorded decision of COP that the meeting would only take note of the Accord, world headlines are already creating the perception the Accord is the outcome of the most historic climate change meeting in history.
The accord is outside of the formal UNFCCC process and therefore cannot feature as the basis for any legally binding platform under COP rules and procedures, said Bolivia in a session chaired by temporary COP President Colin Beck of the Solomon Islands; who had to close and then re-open debate on the issue.
While it was confirmed that the Accord was not a consensus, nor adopted by the COP, who only noted it, some countries referred to it as if it were a lifeline of sorts when looking for some outcomes.
"I always said we were going to seal a deal at Copenhagen. Not just any deal, but a fair deal and a just deal. History will judge what kind of a deal that is," said AOSIS chair Ambassador Dessima Williams in her final comments to COP15.
Apologising to constituent members of AOSIS who felt "betrayed and hurt" by the decision of Grenada, as AOSIS chair, to back the Copenhagen Accord, Williams said," while we negotiate, yield and compromise, our fundamental right of our people to survive and develop remains our bedrock. And so we go, forced to work for 1.5 because that is the maximum threshold that will allow us to plan for survival, and sustainable development."
Papua New Guinea and other Pacific leaders who have decided, some reluctantly and others quietly, to go along with a Copenhagen outcome -- the nature of which many were still confused over at midday on Saturday.
PNG's Kevin Conraud, noting that while the Copenhagen Accord noted by COP15 "is not perfect", focussed on small next steps for countries who have allied themselves to it: it supports a two-track framework for climate change work and allows for a quick start funding mechanism. 
Conraud called on the UNFCCC secretariat to move on an offer from Ethiopia to convene a HLM event. From the AOSIS perspective, any chance to keep discussing the Accord allows space to ensure island state members might be able to turn it around.
"We ask you to turn this accord into the promise it offers," said Ambassador Williams, "It must live up to what it set out to do. It must move and give us back a maximum temperature increase of 1.5 and not 2 degrees. It must give us back all the Bali Action Plan language we value, and must give us legally binding outcomes. But most of all we call on those who have the ability to do so, to deliver the financing. This was never about financing, certainly for AOSIS, but we acknowledge there are many states parties for whom financing for climate change is critical and therefore we expect the Copenhagen Accord will deliver," she said.
"It is almost 18 days since our delegations arrived into Copenhagen, renamed Hopenhagen. We came seeking to advance the cause of our island states, for our survival, development and existence. It's too early to take stock of whether we succeeded or failed. We lost many things along the way, and hopefully we gained some. We lost our vigorous commitment from other parties on 1.5 degrees. We were not able to secure a legally binding agreement outcome or mid term targets and many other contributions critical to survival and success of this conference," Williams said.
The 22 heads of state from AOSIS region and many scores of negotiators tasked with being diplomatic bridge builders had much work to do towards the next COP, said Williams.

UN's Ban Ki Moon appeals to keep COP15 closing moments on track

Lisa Williams-Lahari, Climate Pasifika media team
Saturday 19 December 2009, COPENHAGEN--As tiny Tuvalu took on India and other nations this morning over  keeping or tossing a reference to legally binding text in mind for the next COP meeting, Pacific teams and other small islands states are winging their ways back home as bearers of the bad news: no consensus, a lot of secrecy and exclusion, and a confusing side-deal which blocks anyone who refuses to sign from accessing the US-100billion incentive to join the list of parties associated with the new Copenhagen Accord. 
Meanwhile, negotiators and officials continued a bleary eyed and frustrated round of agenda items, comment for the record, questions and farewells after some 48 hours of stop-start wrangling at the Bella Centre. They were delivered a late call to rally by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.  Moon made the most of a lull created after a heated to and fro over a bid by Tuvalu to try and keep a commitment to a legally binding outcome on the table for COP16 in Mexico. Tuvalu has already seen its draft Copenhagen protocol, submitted in line with COP meeting rules and procedures, be virtually ignored as COP process took a dive at this event. Tuvalu's call for some direction and focus on legally binding agreements was taken up by the UN Secretary General, saying legally binding language was needed to build on the controversial Copenhagen Accord tabled by US President Barack Obama and endorsed by some 24 world leaders.
Without the legally binding text, Moon said it would be difficult to codify and check against progress in a transparent way.
He said the launch of a Copenhagen green climate fund as soon as possible would help to boost clean energy initiatives in developing countries.
Finally, he urged delegates to "pursue the road of higher ambition, not follow the path of least resistance" as the consequences of not doing so would be serious. "Collective action is the only effective action" he reminded the plenary. 
Bangladesh and Pakistan captured the dejected mood of many departing Denmark this weekend, especially as they came expecting to deliver good news to constituents at home.
Pakistan said it was clear the COPs procedural gaps needed to be addressed as much as the gaps in trust between countries. "Good faith does not necessarily lead to good results...transparency is tough, and time-consuming, but the agreements reached that way are more durable, and carry strong ownership," a delegation member said.--ENDS

1.5 degrees rejected, Pacific condemned as 25 leaders deliver Copenhagen Accord

Evan Wasuka, ONE TV News, Solomon Islands
Saturday 19 December 2009, COPENHAGEN--Officials from a growing list of countries at the UN Climate Change Talks are aligning themselves to a deal offered after a 24 hour marathon session that started on Friday and stretched out into Saturday. The deal was officially noted by the COP on Saturday morning some 12 hours after the United States announced the set up of a agreement on climate change. The Copenhagen Accord was nowhere near what Pacific countries were looking for, with even the deal’s strongest backers admitting that it is a flawed document but the best available, given the situation. In fact the Accord, if it is taken as the COP15 outcome condemns some low lying Pacific Island countries to the worst effects of climate change especially rising sea levels. But for some members of the Alliance of Small Islands States, which Pacific countries are members of, it was the only way forward after two solid weeks of negotiations failed to reach a compromise on saving the planet. After hours of drama on the plenary floor AOSIS’s president accepted the proposed deal despite the rejection of the accord by some of its members including Tuvalu.

"It looks like we've been offered 30 pieces of silver to betray our people,"

said Tuvalu’s rep Ian Fry. The accord puts the limit of global warming at under 2 degrees Celsius – a less stringent mark than AOSIS’s and Pacific Island countries maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Also under threat -- the Kyoto Protocol -- as early understanding is that the Accord is based on voluntary reductions by developed countries. The accord had been put together by a select group of countries – brought together by COP’s president – including Grenada on behalf of AOSIS members on Thursday night.
“We went in, AOSIS fought for everything we could come out with…as you could see we didn’t come out with much,” said Dessima Williams. Solomon Islands ambassador to the United Nations says the 2 degrees Celsius mark will be devastating for low lying Pacific nations such as Tuvalu, Kiribati and parts of Solomon Islands. He says according to science the 2 degrees mark would put some countries underwater. The accord was presented to delegates at 3am, and was initially received with much hostility by developing countries, stoked by the television appearance of US President Barak Obama to announce the sealing of a deal, despite delegates having to meet yet.
Venezuela was amongst the accord’s harshest critics, calling the accord illegitimate.
But as the talks bore on emotions subsided and most accepted that the Accord as the way forward. “PNG supports this document even though it is flawed…we can not leave this place without something to carry them forward,” said Papua New Guinea climate change envoy Kevin Conraud.
With the meeting convening at 3am and continuing until 7am – the lack of sleep and the frustration of days of negotiations affected delegates with Sudan’s representative and chief negotiator of the G77 countries accusing developed countries of having murderous intent with
the 2 degrees Celsius limitation. His references to the holocaust proved to be the launching pad for developed countries to counter the stream of criticism against the accord.
The Accord had also split existing blocs with some African countries Ethiopia, Senegal, South Africa heading in support of the document while Sudan opposed it. The meeting had to be interrupted a number of times for meeting officials dealing with changes in flight booking for delegates flying out on Saturday morning had to be changed to cater for the marathon session, as momentum picked up in support for the proposed Copenhagen accord. The members of the Least Developed Countries also gave their backing to the accord. Maldives, a country also threatened by rising sea levels was one of the big backers of the accord. “In the last two days I have met with 25 country leaders – I must say big emitters are refusing to reduce emissions…I am so sorry this was blatantly obstructed by big countries,” said Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed who backed the accord despite it not meeting the below 1.5 degrees Celsius mark which the Maldives had campaigned for. Nasheed said the Accord was the best way forward.  .--ENDS