Youth intervention at high-level plenary at U.N. in Bangkok

8 10 2009

Here is the text of the intervention speech the International Youth will deliver in Bangkok at the U.N. today.


Delegates, you will remember 6 months ago we asked you how old you will be in 2050?

You seemed to notice, you responded, you bought the t shirt. But this did not translate into action

My name is ___ and I hope to be ____ In the year 2050.

Earlier this week, we declared “no confidence” on the road to Copenhagen.

The process has been hijacked by carbon cowboys looking to profit from this crisis; our future is being held hostage to the self-interested dirty delaying tactics of Annex 1 countries.

We have seen the arrogant betrayal of the Bali Action Plan, with the perverse idea that developing countries should or can somehow act first.

History will judge you.

We witness the US deliberately undermine the negotiations by introducing language to merge the Kyoto Protocol and convention processes, tearing out compliance and top-down target setting.

Other Annex 1 countries hide behind the US to avoid their responsibilities; setting disgracefully low targets; with deceptive offset measures that amount to no real emissions cuts at all.

We will not accept a dirty deal.

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Bangkok: Rich countries try to kill the Kyoto Protocol, International Youth declare “No Confidence” in road to Copenhagen

7 10 2009

cross posted from Grist.

Today marked one of the final days of the Bangkok UN Climate Negotiations. With the end of this intersessional in sight, the International Youth Delegation (IYD) has officially declared “No Confidence” in the road to Copenhagen.

With youth delegates from over 30 countries engaging in the Bangkok process, the IYD cited pathetically weak targets from the North, alarm that a second commitment period in the Kyoto Protocol will not be secured, and a lack of guarantees for protection of Indigenous peoples’ rights and interests, in its Declaration. The current text of the draft climate deal is so weak and so full of “false solutions” (measures like offsetting that actually make the problem worse) it is unacceptable.

Youth delegates representing each continent addressed the U.N. today, detailing the urgency of the crisis as it affects their communities currently, telling stories of their hope and organizing alongside their denunciation of the state of play in the UN Negotiations.

This week the Annex 1 (rich countries), attempted to kill the Kyoto Protocol (KP). We are nearing upon the end of the current KP term, and a lack of renewing it means that the world would lose the few legally binding international climate agreements it has (as insufficient as they are). The excuse is that the United States will not sign, and therefore the whole thing should be scrapped and an entirely new deal can be struck on its own. It is lunacy to think that this will yield a stronger outcome, and the G77 (the rest of the world) countries are furious. We have always known the US wont sign the KP; the world cannot continue to wait for the US to get on board. In Bali, the U.S. already committed to setting comparable targets to other Annex 1 countries, so the world could deal with the U.S. in the LCA (Long Term Cooperative Action).

This all amounts to a shell game: more dirty delaying tactics from self-interested countries who are content to strip away basic attempts at an international agreement (for example “compliance” – meaning that the U.S. would have international oversight of its targets, or “top-down target setting” – meaning the international community sets carbon targets together based on science, rather than each countries independently setting their targets based on what their fossil fuel extraction industries dictate).

Allowing the U.S. to drag the world out of existing legal obligations is disgraceful. These negotiations are going backwards.

Make no mistake: Our future is being held hostage to interests that have consistently thumbed their noses at the international community and their obligations to the rest of the world. This process has been polluted by self-interested corporations and nations looking to profit off of our crisis. They have been pushing false solutions that exacerbate rather than fix the problem. Not only are the targets set by rich countries weak, but they are deceptive. Rather than representing actual emissions reductions, they contain unacceptable proportions of offsets, which do not reduce emissions, and displace the burden back onto the developing countries of the world.
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Reparations for Climate Chaos

2 10 2009

Think Climate Finance is boring? Think again.

cross posted from Grist.

Remember when the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, and International Monetary Fund were constantly making global headlines for their fierce opposition from people’s movements around the world? Well, international Finance Institutions (including the World Bank) are rearing their ugly heads again – this time with the U.N. as their vehicle.

Today, more than 50 social movements, trade unions, environmental groups and NGOs from 17 countries issued a statement at the United Nations in Bangkok, where UNFCCC climate negotiations move into their fifth day.

The groups, which include several large international networks, said that rich countries should acknowledge their historical responsibility and the “ecological and climate debts” they owe to developing countries. “Deep, drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, through domestic measures is part of reparations,” the statement said. “They took much more than their fair share of atmospheric space, and in the process denied the people of developing countries – the people of the South – their rightful share. They must give it back.”

photo: Janet Redman

And they’re right. As colleagues here in Bangkok talk about their newly-homeless families from the floods earlier this week in the Philippines, it is undeniable that the economic prosperity of the North is the gift-that-keeps-on-giving to the South – this time around in the form of devastating climate change. Tom Pickens from Friends of the Earth described it like having a fancy four course meal in an expensive restaurant – and then forcing someone walking by on the street outside to pay.

Reparations for these debts, according to Fabrina Furtado from Jubilee South, also include the “complete restoration of territories and ecosystems, reconstruction of basic infrastructure, recovery of social rights, and the restoration of the well being of the peoples of the South.”

Reparations must come from public sources.

The groups decried alleged attempts by Annex 1 (Northern) countries to “avoid taking full responsibility” for the consequences of their excessive emissions. In their statement, groups expressed strong opposition to giving any role in climate finance or climate programs to the World Bank, regional development banks and other international financial institutions – and emphasized the need for “a new global fund.”

These views are similar to those of the G77 plus China group, a bloc of more than 130 developing countries in the climate negotiations that considers the World Bank inappropriate for channeling developed countries’ financial obligations under the Convention – largely because of its undemocratic and unaccountable governance structure.

The group’s critique of the World Bank and related financial institutions goes even further. Elena Gerebizza of the Italian NGO Campaign for the Reform of the World Bank said, “The World Bank and other international financial institutions are in large part responsible for the current economic, financial and climate crises. We cannot expect them to play a positive role nor to contribute to real solutions.” “On the contrary,” she added, “these institutions have been pushing false solutions, such as the expansion of the carbon market, which increase financial instability and take away space for serious thinking about real solutions for the climate crisis.”

Whew. United States, ready to listen yet?





Finance for Socioeconomic and Climate Justice Statment

1 10 2009

STATEMENT

Finance for Socioeconomic and Climate Justice

Bangkok, September 28, 2009

We, the undersigned social organizations, movements and networks working towards climate and socioeconomic justice, gathered in Bagnkok for an International Strategy Meeting on Climate and Finance in parallel to the United Nations climate talks, call for:

  • the recognition of the Global North´s historical responsibility and obligation to guarantee reparations for ecological debt, including climate debt, owed to the Global South;
  • the creation of alternative funding mechanisms and flows that recognize the above and respect, protect and promote the sovereignty and rights of peoples and nature;
  • an immediate end to any role for International Financial Institutions (IFIs) in climate financing, and other financial mechanisms and institutions that exacerbate and intensify climate change and increase ecological and other debts;
  • rejection of market-based instruments which do not solve the climate crisis – but intead increase climate debt by allowing the North to offset its own greenhouse gas emissionss by transfering its emissions reduction obligations to the South.

Reparations Now!

We recognize that each human being has an equal right to ecological and climate space. Climate debt is a part of the larger ecological debt the Global North owes the Global South, accrued through centuries of theft of natural resources and the violation of human rights. Reparation of this ecological debt must include the complete restoration of territories and ecosystems, reconstruction of infrastructure critical to peoples well-being, recovery of social rights and recuperation of local agricultural systems in the Global South. Reparations must also include curtailing rampant consumption and making immediate cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in the North. Reparations must be based on the self-determination of all peoples in order to guarantee that no new ecological debts are accrued.

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