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Copenhegan- Climate Change

Green Features Reports from Copenhagen (Climate Change)

Soumya Dutta, Editor, Green Features writes from Copenhagen…….

On the end of the day, the international climate negotiations – COP15, at Copenhagen, a bold and ‘controversial’ proposal by the very small island nation of Tuvalu located in the Pacific ocean, managed to create a huge flutter, increased the rift between developing countries, and finally brought the negotiations to a halt.

What Tuvalu is basically asking is for internationally (legally) binding emissions reduction targets by ALL BIG Emitting Countries, including those in the developing country block. And this created a lot of unrest amongst the big-developing polluters, including China, India, Brasil, south Africa, etc None of these “emerging economies” are willing to accept leaglly binding emission reduction targets – rather preferring only Energy Intensity targets determined by national goals. But many small & poor developing countries, the LDCs (Least Developed Countries), and particularly the Island nations (AOSIS – assn Of Small Island states) along with Bangladesh etc have supported the Tuvaluan proposal.

Tavalu exhibit and spokespersons- Gilliance legallic and Fanny Heros

Deforestation

The deforestation has become a hot issue in Copenhagen. The activists from all the developing and poor. Countries have been campaigning against REDD mechanism. Big developing countries are giving wrong datas, ……………

1) The latest studies have shown that the percentage contribution of Deforestation today is close to 12% of the total emission, from the estimated 18-21 % of the 1990, largely because of very little increase in deforestation in deforestation in the last 2 decades, while fossil carbon emissions kept increasing,. Some groups estimate the deforestation contribution to be 10%.

2) In India, there is no net deforestation for the last 1.5 decades. This is independently verified by some UN bodies also (like FAO). pl see the attached picture from FAO.

India's forest cover HAS ACTUALLY INCREASED OVER THE LAST DECADE, AND THIS IS LARGELY DUE TO THE CONTRIBUTION OF FOREST PEOPLE'S STRUGGLE TO RESIST ATTACK ON FOREST LAND BY EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES, PLANTATIONS ETC.

Indian Govt. has absolutely no justification for talking REDD.

The myth that has been spread over the last decade and a half that deforestation is the source of around 20% of all emissions, has been shown to be false. latest studies show this is close to 12%, AND in some developing countries -- like India -- becoming greedy with the prospect of REDD money, deforestation is actually very little or nil.

The Indian Govt. and many of its constituent state Govts are preparing ground for receiving projects under REDD, and there are some suspiscions that the Govts attempts to give only individual land rights to forest dwellers (through the recently passed Forests Rights Act 2006) and attempts to deny community forest rights and to subvert survey of common lands -- is also an attempt to earmark rest of the forest for corporate trading thru REDD type schemes.

Durban Group

The Durban Group rejects climate mitigation financing of forestry projects through the REDD mechanism. Mining and burning of fossil fuels is the primary cause of the climate crisis. [addtl sentence]

From a justice perspective, forestry offsets exacerbate the climate crisis while harming forest-dependent peoples in order to protect elite consumer lifestyles and business as usual energy policies. While meant to lower carbon emissions from forest degradation and deforestation, forestry offsets instead will hurt efforts to fix the climate. REDD and related forestry finance proposals fail to take
seriously the complex and diverse ways in which forests are people's homes, sources of their livelihoods, integral parts of their cultures and spirituality, sources of medicine, regulators of watersheds, burial grounds, sacred grounds, and otherwise integral to the substance of peoples' lives.

Forests could be protected instead through deregulated forestry governance, strong rights and institutions for forest-dependent people, especially indigenous peoples, and locally-initiated capital and forestry management investments for sustainable development. Fixing the climate crisis caused by [historical polluters] must not be a burden borne by disenfranchised indigenous and forest-dependent people.

The urgency of this declaration is clear because approval of the REDD negotiating text is a high priority for COP-15. Moreover, there are signs that the US wants to make REDD a binding agreement*.

The Thailand conservation groups have also criticized colonial efforts of indigenous rights.

There are some unanswered questions which are bothering the groups.

How will REDD work with decentralized governance mechanisms? Will plantations be included in REDD? Will harvested managed forests be counted against the carbon balance (is it a net calculation)? How will incentives or financing be directed to forest-dependent people? How will REDD recognize the legally binding rights of the forest communities, their contribution to conservation and sustainable management of forests and biodiversity? Who can then claim the incentives for reducing deforestation and degradation? What happens in the event of fire or other forest destruction?

Leaked “Danish Text”

Three hours after the "Danish text" had been leaked to the Guardian, Lumumba Di-Aping, the Sudanese chairman of the group of 132 developing countries known as G77 plus China, spelt out exactly why the poor countries he represents were so incensed. "The text robs developing countries of their just and equitable and fair share of the atmospheric space. It tries to treat rich and poor countries as equal," said the diplomat.

The representatives of developing nations felt betrayed by the intent of the proposals in the draft.

"This text destroys both the UN convention on climate change and the Kyoto protocol. This is aimed at producing a new treaty, a new legal initiative that throws away the basis of [differing] obligations between the poorest and most wealthy nations in the world," said Di-Aping.

The existing treaty is the only global agreement that legally obliges rich countries to reduce their emissions.

Di-Aping is one of the most outspoken of developing country leaders, at once charming and radical. He has called poor people to part at most pressure on politicians to come to their senses.

Brazil Defends biofuels at Copenhagen Summit

Being the world's largest producer and exporter of ethanol it is natural for the Brazilian government and its partners to push biofuels as the only real alternative for a world trying wean itself away from fossil fuels that contribute to global warming.

Brazilian authorities were ready with their arguments at the United Nations climate change summit underway here. Over the past 30 years, since the country embarked on its ethanol programme, an estimated 800 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions have been avoided.

Brazilian delegates were at pains to show that not only is biofuel production the best way to reduce greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions but can also combat poverty as exemplified by the country's scheme to promote micro-distilleries to provide additional income for rural families.

Biofuels have, however, come under serious attack in recent years for eating into
farmlands meant for food production. As a result, the European Union backed
out, last year, from a commitment to introduce a 10 percent mandatory quota of
biofuels in all transportation by 2020.

While admitting that "biofuels are no silver bullet," Brazilian authorities insist that biofuels are the best way forward for developing countries.

Today at Halfdan Rasmussen Room, Form 7:00 to 10:00 PM (IST) the Indian groups are meeting in a seminar on “Bringing Agriculture in focus in Climate Change Negotiation”. The organisers expect a lot of participation and a collection of ‘declarations’ from different peoples groups in India are scheduled to be released.

Vijay Pratap of Lokayan Samiksha adds from Copenhagen- Yesterday, we went to a intensive tour of various stalls of NGO’s. If was very educative for activitsts. The young men and women in a big way, are attracted to the issues being discussed in Copenhagen. The attitude towards Gandhi is ritualistic, indifferent or even allergic except by greens. Nobody is talking forcefully about learning from the life style of marginalised majority, who are neither using energy nor emitting green house gases.

Vijay Further adds that European Civil Society is challenging Eurocentric views. African groups are more vocal and are in a fighting mood against Developed and big developing countries’ easy attitude.

Green Features

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Cutain Raiser

Report on 12 December 2009

 

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