Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Have We No Shame?

The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen was rocked earlier today by a document known as the "Danish text." The document, apparently drafted by the so-called "circle of commitment" (including the UK, the US, and Denmark) centralizes climate power among rich countries and strips the UN of authority in future climate negotiations. Read the full text here.

John Vidal describes what is at stake in this Guardian article:

The agreement, leaked to the Guardian, is a departure from the Kyoto Protocol's principle that rich nations, which have emitted the bulk of the CO2, should take on firm and binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, while poorer nations were not compelled to act. The draft hands effective control of climate change finance to the World Bank; would abandon the Kyoto protocol – the only legally binding treaty that the world has on emissions reductions; and would make any money to help poor countries adapt to climate change dependent on them taking a range of actions.

Developing nations were understandably outraged by not only the implications of this measure but also the secretive fashion in which it was drafted. And in case you are wondering how passionate these countries are about fair and equitable treatment, African nations staged a walkout earlier this year at a climate conference in Barcelona citing a lack of emissions commitments from developed nations.

For me the Danish text is particularly alarming (not to mention damaging to the image and success of the conference in general), because it is such a bold departure from the collaborative essence I believed these talks to value and promote. There is too much riding on this conference to allow these blatant and ill-founded digressions to occur. The mentality embodied in this text is a direct threat to the political and environmental stability of our world. It remains to be seen how this will effect the negotiations moving forward, but if this selfishness and short-sightedness exhibited in this document is not checked at the door during the next week and a half of the climate negotiations, we are all in a hell of a lot of trouble...

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