Amidst all the compromises and hedging and ducking and diving that characterises the mainstream negotiations, it’s good to remember what some sane perspectives on the whole process might be.
Earlier this year, Bolivia hosted the World People’s Conference on Climate Change in Cochabamba, which produced a declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. No doubt the very name is perceived as eccentric in most halls of counsel in Cancun – but the personification of Earth by the Cochabamba drafters is intended as a reminder that seeing Earth as a single, nurturing living system is more likely to create a sustainable human civilisation than seeing it merely as a “collection of resources”, here to be “utilised”.
My suspicion is that the UNFCCC is not itself entirely neutral. I have heard references to texts that have been proposed later disappearing. At any rate, Bolivia has succeeded in getting the following proposals into draft texts for Cancun. It should be understood that these will be weighed against many other, mostly more conservative, counter-proposals, and the likelihood of their being part of an agreement is rather slender. But they should be known:
Limit the temperature increase to 1°C.
Reduce emissions by more than 50% for 2017.
Rights of Mother Earth.
Full respect for human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples and climate migrants.
Formation of an International Climate Justice Tribunal.
No new carbon markets.
6% of GDP in developed countries to finance climate change actions in developing countries.
Lifting of barriers to intellectual property that facilitates technology transfer.
No commodification of forests.