'Everything Left to Accomplish'

Mantoe Phakathi/IPS-TerraViva

COPENHAGEN – “It’s clear now – we’re not getting a
binding deal at the end of tomorrow,” said the president of Friends of
the Earth-United States, Erich Pica.

Industrialised nations are burying their heads in the sand and poor
countries seem set to be forced to continue bearing the burden of
global warming. The demonstrations, flyers, news media and all kinds of
pressure to get the Western countries to reduce their greenhouse gas
emissions and compensate poor countries with financial resources and
technology seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

Inside the Bella Centre, leaders from different parts of the world
delivered more or less the same message about the impacts of climate
change and why it is important to help poor countries.

The United States stimulated a lot of media interest when Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton put her government’s cards on the table. But
her proposal of $100 billion a year of funding from 2020 confirmed the
arrogance of the developed world: the South is looking for an immediate
commitment to roughly $200 billion a year for mitigation, adaptation
and technology transfers.

The U.S. plan would take a decade to make half of what developing
countries estimate is needed available. Clinton rubbed it in by making
even this limited offer conditional on countries such as China and
Russia committing to transparent actions on cutting emissions.

“The developed countries are now trying to push the blame to
developing countries so that when a deal fails to come up tomorrow,
they’ll blame it on China or Russia for refusal to cooperate,” said


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Other observers also noted that the U.S. proposal was silent on
practical questions such as where the money will come from, how the
fund will grow over the years, and very unclear on when it would end.

Several heads of state, whether by design or default, seem to be
shying away from this meeting. Indian Prime Minister Mohamed Singh, who
was supposed to fly from India to Copenhagen this afternoon, was
reportedly delayed because of a technical problem with his aircraft.

This delay means that a consensus between the four largest
developing economies – China, India, Brazil and South Africa – whose
leaders were supposed to meet tonight, will take longer to emerge.

U.S. President Barack Obama also did not pitch today, postponing a much-anticipated address to the Conference.

A leaked internal document from the U.N. Secretariat spells out how
much remains to be done: assessing the emissions reduction pledges from
industrialised nations who are part of the Kyoto protocol and the
voluntary offers from everyone else, the expected rise in temperature
will be roughly three degrees.

The last day of negotiations now dawns with everything left to
accomplish: a yawning gap remains between major blocs of countries,
between the negotiations in the Bella Centre and the demands of civil
society, and – still – between what the markets can conceive and what
scientists say is the minimum needed to protect the diversity of life
on this planet.

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