Sunday, December 20, 2009

EDITORIAL: Copenhagen Accord

By Uchita de Zoysa (Author of "It has to be CLIMATE SUSTAINABILITY)

I simply have to say …. I warned and I said this would be the outcome. Copenhagen Failed! Do not let a political scam "Copenhagen Accord' fool you. It is just another self-saving swindle by the establishment.

Just one man made some sense in a failing climate summit, and that was USA President Barack Obama. While the negotiators were playing "Age of the Stupid", Obama worked his usual charismatic charm and usual sharp mind to make common sense look genius. Walking into the newly power hungry BASIC – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – this one smart man saved the negotiating clowns of the COP15 circus an ultimate embarrassment.

Perhaps four other wise men too should be credited to helping the scam. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and South African President Jacob Zuma were the main chefs who cooked-up the situation for the accord to evolve. By turning on the heat on the Western leaders, these emerging giants ensured that Obama responds and steal the lime light that he loves. The Europeans looked more foolish than ever and could only say – how a wonderful! The Danish Presidency of COP15 simply avoided the greatest embarrassment of the history of his nation, and the United Nations only could hide behind its own shame. "Many will say that it lacks ambition, "Nonetheless, you have achieved much." UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said. Well the draft was said be prepared at the meeting and finalised with heads of 25 other countries, plus European Union (EU) and the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). So much for transparency, inclusiveness, collective will of 194 parties? 171 countries dumped!

Well, this act did not require 20,000 plus people to come to Copenhagen and 194 countries to be represented. The five country leaders and another twenty others mainly from Europe could have met in a private ranch during the weekend to make this deal. This was what the G77 President from Sudan may have meant by saying 'the worst development in the fight against climate change'. Lumumba Di-Aping, Sudan's ambassador to the UN said "the draft accord was 'in gross violation of the principles of transparency and participation by all countries that have governed all actions within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It is against the poor and it lacks common sense." Dia-ping, who chairs a bloc of 130 poor nations, said the pact meant "incineration" for Africa and was comparable to the Holocaust. Asked if the G77 would oppose the draft at the UNFCCC conference plenary session due to start any moment? 'Wait and see,' Di-Aping said. Pressed further, he said: 'Sudan will oppose.'

It was clear in Copenhagen that India and China now together with Brazil and South Africa had very conveniently abandoned the most important developing country block G77 in search of excellence. They now feel that they are in the big league. Why not, China has beaten USA in the emissions race and India are not too far following. What can the balance of the 130 poor nations offer them that USA, Europeans and Australia cannot offer in a new world balance? In fact world of opportunities. Well, definitely Sudan has no such attraction.

Di-Arping was not alone in condemning this global climate scam. "It looks like we are being offered 30 pieces of silver to betray our people and our future," said Ian Fry of Tuvalu, a tiny Pacific island whose very existence is threatened by rising seas.

Now are we back to the dreaded voluntary commitments by the polluting nations? Obama was smartly ready for critism of the 5 + 20 nation deal. "The actions that we are going to set, we know that they will not by themselves be sufficient to get to where we need to get by 2050, and that's why this is going to be a first step." Obama said. "Going forward, we are going to have to build on the momentum we have achieved here in Copenhagen. We have come a long way but we have much further to go," he added.

The accord drops the expected goal of setting a deadline to achieve a true international treaty by the end of 2010; the details of such a treaty will most likely require months or years of further negotiation. That is when German Chancellor Angela Merkel comes into the rescue; she has offered to host the next climate summit in mid-2010. She viewed the result "with mixed emotions" but added that "the only alternative to the agreement would have been a failure." Now that is some political honesty.

Another climate summit in a few months? Why not just stay in Copenhagen for a few more months and negotiate? Believe me when I say, climate change talk shops are here to stay for some time till the establishment finds another better topic to sell to the world. Till then, they will have to burn a load fuel and spend millions of dollars to keep themselves and some of us entertained; and at the cost of the destiny of humans on earth.

Time is for us to take our own destiny into our own hands and tell the worlds leaders what we want and how we want it. That is why the Climate Sustainability PLATFORM has called for a binding agreement on Climate Sustainability. The call for climate sustainability is;

Climate and Sustainability need to be addressed together, not decoupled. Therefore, the world needs a binding international agreement on 'Climate Sustainability'. An agreement on Climate Sustainability will be decisive in coming together as one world to reverse decades of irresponsible consumption, production, and trade patterns and to build an equitable, fair, and just world. Climate sustainability must be the shared vision of the UNFCCC because it is the aspiration of the people. Climate Sustainability addresses pressing issues of poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation through relevant strategies for mitigation, adaptation, finance, and technology sharing. Governments must demonstrate political will and vision by signing a binding 'Climate Sustainability Agreement' enforced through strong compliance mechanisms. Only this will empower people to live in harmony with all species in a healthy planet that ensures wellbeing and happiness to all.

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