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UN climate talks are a sham

The views of the people are to be specifically excluded from the next round of United Nations climate talks in Mexico in December, but the interests of the corporations are right on board.

Plans for the talks at Cancun are currently being made at a meeting in Bonn and a working group looking at the arrangements says there must be no repeat of “the troubles at Copenhagen”.

To achieve this aim, countries will no longer be permitted to include NGOs, social justice or campaigning groups in their delegations. Inclusion of representatives of business, banks or corporations will be allowed, however.

And the voice of the people is also being kept out of the text for the talks. Bolivia had presented the conclusions of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth held in Cochabamba recently, for inclusion in the debate, but the chair of the talks entirely ignored them.

But the Copenhagen Accord, thrown together at the last minute at the end of 2009 by a handful of rich countries in order to prevent any binding agreement or indeed any action on climate change, will be on the table.

Ambassador Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s representative at the talks, today resubmitted the text from Cochabamba, saying the voices of the real victims of climate change are being excluded from the negotiations.

“In April 2010 more than 35,000 people from 140 countries gathered in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and developed the historic Cochabamba People’s Agreement, a consensus-based document reflecting substantive solutions to the climate crisis,” Solon said.

We are therefore deeply concerned that the new text proposed as a basis for climate change negotiations does not reflect any of the main conclusions reached in Cochabamba. We made these proposals in line with UN rules, by the April deadline, but still they have not been included.

“Proposals from Cochabamba have been side-lined but every single element of the so called ‘Copenhagen Accord’ has been included, even though it was not recognized by the United Nations. This means that on finance we are only considering $100 billion a year to respond to climate change – just $20 per person in the developing world – to solve climate change. It’s clear that climate change impacts are not going to be dealt with for just $20 per person.

Solon accused the organisers of being “undemocratic and non-transparent” in excluding particular proposals from the negotiations. In total 18 different ideas were omitted, including 50% emission cuts for rich countries by 2017, a 300ppm greenhouse gas stabilization target, a proposal for a declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth and a new, realistic assessment of finance needed to fight climate change.

“There cannot be an equitable, transparent, and inclusive negotiation process, nor true solutions to the urgency of the climate crisis, if the UN negotiating text ignores the voices of the peoples of the world that the negotiators should be representing.” Solon insisted.

The reality is, of course, that the UN has caved in entirely to the rich capitalist nations. The lesson it learned from Copenhagen was that, whatever the planet needs, whatever humanity needs, and whatever text has been drawn up in advance, only the needs of the corporations count. Taking that on board, the UN has thrown in the towel, and is simply going through the motions in advance of Cancun, which organisers want to be held behind closed doors. 

Bolivia is right to expose the UN Framework Negotiations and try to hold the governments of the advanced capitalist countries to account. But in the end the solution to the problem of climate change and implementation of the Cochabamba Accord can only take place as a result of revolutionary action to transform democracy to put the people in charge of the decisions.

Penny Cole
Environment editor
3 June 2010

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