An update from inter-sessional climate talks in Bangkok

This year, there will be three “inter-sessional” sets of climate change negotiations. These are generally seen as preparatory negotiations preparatory to the end-of-year COPs. They are attended by civil servants, but not by ministers or heads of state. The first of 2011’s inter-sessionals is now underway in Bangkok, and the Climate Justice Movement has just released the statement below. Note that LCA refers to “long-term cooperative action”, which is one of the two core but parallel negotiating tracks currently being pursued under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the other track being further development of the Kyoto Procol. Annex I countries are the rich, developed countries.

Annex I countries : Put up or Shut Up!

Climate change negotiations in Bangkok have stalled over a dispute about the agenda of the LCA and commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

The agenda set for the LCA will determine the course of the negotiations for 2011, and likely well into the future.  Discussions around the second commitment period illustrate the delineation between countries who are committed to resolving the climate crisis and those who aren’t.

The USA, as Chair of the LCA, proposed an agenda that, if accepted, would make the UNFCCC an ineffective space for climate solutions.  It cherry picked aspects of the Cancun outcomes which led the negotiations away from a system of global accountability and towards non-binding voluntary agreements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.   The Cancun outcomes are widely rejected by climate justice movements.  Cancun ignored the science, violated key principles of the UNFCCC and the Bali Action Plan, and undermined the consensus-based processes of the UN system.

It is still possible to re-orient the climate change negotiations to ensure that the Durban COP17 will set us on a path to a safe, low-carbon and just future.

The G77+China (a group of 131 developing countries) proposed a constructive agenda based on previous agreements,  including the Bali Action Plan, that would put the negotiations back on track to achieve effective international actions.  The US proposed agenda, on the other hand, is either an overt attempt to intimidate other governments, or a measure intended to waste time and divert discussion away from the obligation of developed countries to lead in reducing their climate pollution.

For the Kyoto Protocol, the Bangkok talks are a moment of truth.  Today, the informal session of the Kyoto Protocol exposed the frailty of the commitment of developed countries to legally binding emission reduction targets. The EU has not taken a stand and is rather attempting to weasel out of its moral obligation, using weak arguments.

At this point, developing countries have committed to higher emissions reductions than developed countries. The EU must commit itself unconditionally to the Kyoto Protocol, and work with the developing countries who have taken the lead on delivering on .

Those developed countries who are blocking progress by refusing to take action should leave the Kyoto Protocol.


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