TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Mar10/03)
18 March 2010
Third World Network

Civil society calls for rejection of Copenhagen Accord
Published in SUNS #6886 dated 18 March 2010

Geneva, 17 Mar (Meena Raman) -- As climate change meetings are scheduled to resume next month from 9-11 April in Bonn, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social movements from around the world have called for the rejection of the Copenhagen Accord.

(The Accord is a three-page document that was not adopted by the Conference of Parties in Copenhagen but was only "taken note of".)

The statement entitled "Act Now to Meet The Post-Copenhagen Climate Emergency!" was endorsed by 201 NGOs and social movements from all over the world, including the Friends of the Earth International, Christian Aid, Third World Network, Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, Jubilee South, Africa Trade Network, Global Exchange, International Forum on Globalization, International Rivers Network, World Development Movement and many nationally-based organizations, especially from developing countries.

According to the statement, "the Copenhagen Accord was not adopted by the Copenhagen Conference  in part because it arose from a totally undemocratic and un-transparent process. The continuing chaos and confusion with respect to its standing are further symptoms of the failure of an exclusive process that should not be legitimised now through a de facto acceptance of the Accord it produced."

The statement further said that "the Accord must be rejected on the basis of its extremely problematic contents, the acceptance of which would lead to a set of serious problems."

The statement identified the following problems as regards the Accord:

"The Accord implicitly destroys the Kyoto Protocol (KP) and removes international discipline on developed countries' mitigation actions. The Accord replaces the KP model of mitigation (i.e. binding and adequate aggregate and individual national targets) with a system of voluntary and unilateral pledges by each developed country, with no review of the adequacy of the national targets nor the implications of their aggregate level."

"The pledges that have been made after Copenhagen under the Accord are now shown to reduce emissions by Annex I (developed) countries by only 13-19 per cent by 2020 from 1990 levels, compared to the 40-plus per cent required. If loopholes and offsets are counted, the actual reduction is much less, perhaps even zero. This result puts the world on track for a calamity of  global warming by almost 4 degrees Celsius, according to recent studies. This is a catastrophic situation which must put the world on a extreme emergency alert."

"The Accord also places heavier mitigation obligations on developing countries than are in the Bali Action Plan or the Convention, without any assurance of the finance and technology transfers (which is a legal obligation for developed counties to provide) to match the  obligations."

"The Accord also opposes many of the positions and demands of developing countries in the multilateral negotiations. If there is acceptance of the Accord, it would constrain or destroy further consideration of the developing countries' positions in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)."

"In particular, the Accord damages developing countries' positions on finance in the UNFCCC, such as the demand that a Multilateral Climate Fund be set up under the Convention to be governed by the Conference of Parties and that funding be provided of hundreds of billions of dollars annually, which is additional, non-debt creating and mainly public-funded."

"The Accord would contradict many of the principles (including equity and common but differentiated responsibilities) and provisions of the UNFCCC (including Articles on finance and technology, as well as Article 4.7). It would radically and adversely change the balance of rights and obligations among the developed and developing countries in the UNFCCC."

The statement expressed the extreme concern of the NGOs about the current state of the climate negotiations.

"Rather than move the world a step in the necessary direction, the chaotic organization at Copenhagen and the confusing situation after Copenhagen has clouded prospects for a global climate deal," it said.

"We are concerned that the two important outcomes of Copenhagen from the working groups under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol are being overshadowed by the Copenhagen Accord, which is problematic both in terms of process and substance," it added.

According to the statement, "the emergence of the Copenhagen Accord and continuing efforts to establish it as the new basis for further talks pose a serious problem. This is starkly evident in that the pledges made under the Accord by countries after Copenhagen are so low as to put the world on track to global warming by 4 degrees Celsius, which would cause a catastrophe for human survival and the global environment."

"The UNFCCC negotiations must be resumed aimed at a global climate deal that must be based on a different model that is environmentally sound, globally just, and promotes the rights of local communities and the poor."

The statement further expressed the deep concern of the NGOs "about the attempts by some parties to damage the multilateral system and process for negotiating a global agreement on climate change or to replace it with a non-transparent system where only a few have access to information, can contribute their ideas or make decisions."

It deplored "in particular, the un-mandated creation of a small group of political leaders at Copenhagen, and continued attempts after Copenhagen to further undermine and marginalise the multilateral process.  The exclusive small-group process is undemocratic and illegitimate, leaving out a large number of countries and the vast majority of those whose lives and livelihoods are already being affected by climate change and those who will be least able to defend their communities from the worsening consequences."

The statement said that "the UNFCCC, together with its Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Action Plan (2007), constitute a multilateral regime and plan that today constitute the best chance for achieving the kind of globally agreed action necessary to confront the climate crisis."

"We support its principles of equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and recognition of historical responsibility. We need these to be operationalised to deal with climate debt and achieve climate justice, as well as to avoid disastrous emissions growth and adapt to climate change. The rights of indigenous peoples, local communities and working people must be at the centre of the fight against climate change."

The statement further said that "progress has been made in the UNFCCC negotiations although much more needs to be done. These talks should be supported and not undermined. The Chairs' reports from the working groups of this two-track process (Kyoto and Long-term Cooperative Action), were adopted in Copenhagen (unlike the Copenhagen Accord) and should be the basis for continuing the negotiations. With goodwill, a conclusion can be reached by December 2010 including to agree on a second commitment period in the Kyoto Protocol, comparable efforts of Annex I parties under the Convention, and the five issues for long-term cooperative action (finance, technology, mitigation, adaptation, shared vision)."

It called for "action to be taken to put climate negotiations and actions on a track toward climate justice."

The statement also called for the following measures and immediate steps to be taken:

"All the countries should affirm that the climate negotiations be conducted in the multilateral process, i.e. the UNFCCC. This process should be fully supported by all and not undermined by any country."

"The UNFCCC should quickly reconvene its two working groups on LCA and KP, which should meet as often as possible before the COP in Mexico in December. The basis for negotiations should be the groups' reports adopted in Copenhagen and the proposals of Parties."

"The two-track process inside the UNFCCC should be maintained, with the KP group continuing to negotiate the mitigation commitments of Annex I parties in the 2nd period of the KP, and the LCA group continuing with its 5 issues in line with the Bali Action Plan mandate."

"The Bali understanding for mitigation should be maintained, with Annex I parties in the KP to make new binding medium-term commitments (to 2020 or 2017) in the aggregate and in individual commitments for a 2nd period, while the US makes a comparable commitment in the Convention through a Decision or other instrument;  and developing countries taking mitigation actions enabled by finance and technology, which are subject to being measurable, reportable and verifiable."

"Support should be given for adaptation actions at all levels, across different economic and social sectors and ecosystems, including through strengthening national capacities, building resilience of socioeconomic and ecological systems, enhancing disaster risk reduction, and addressing damage and loss. The actions must be supported with adequate means of implementation, including technology transfer and long-term, scaled up, adequate, new, additional to ODA commitments and predictable grant-based finance."

"Adequate finance must be arranged, through the establishment of a Global Climate Fund in the Convention, with democratic governance under the Conference of Parties, and with adequate funds for mitigation, adaptation and capacity building.  Funds must be additional and from the public sector or arranged by the public sector, and non-debt creating for developing countries. An effective technology mechanism should be set up with policy-making authority, and address key issues on technology transfer including the IPR issue and appropriate R&D models, that aim to increase developing countries' access to affordable technology."

"On shared vision, a long-term temperature or emissions goal must be consistent with what science and the environment require, and we stress that it must be made in the context of an equity framework for the mitigation efforts of developed and developing countries, and specific commitments by developed countries to provide finance and technology for developing countries to enable their efforts. Climate-related actions must be taken in a manner that ensures a just transition."

"The leadership of the UN should itself reaffirm the primacy and legitimacy of the UNFCCC and the multilateral system and uphold the principles of equity and non-discrimination; they should refrain from taking measures or creating other institutions that undermine the aforementioned. The UNFCCC secretariat should also act within their bounds and mandate and not promote or facilitate any accord whose status is outside the UNFCCC; it must also act in an even-handed way when facilitating the negotiations. The selection of a new Executive Secretary of UNFCCC should be based on reaffirming the primacy of the open multilateral process and the choice of a person that is committed to both environment ambition and the equity principle."

"Central to any process and outcome must be the recognition of climate debt and the operationalising of climate justice and the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, farmers and working people as well as the rights of Mother Earth. We commit ourselves to intensified activities based on these principles and we call on civil society, social movements, governments and national, regional and international organisations to join us in this movement for a successful outcome this year."

"We also support efforts and opportunities to promote the above points and activities, and in that spirit make a special call to participate in the Cochabamba Conference on Climate Change (the Conference has been called by Bolivian President Evo Morales in Cochabamba, Bolivia) and Mother Earth Rights in April and to mobilize globally on April 22 that has been declared as Mother Earth Rights' Day," concluded the statement.+