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Danish Equality

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The Copenhagen Climate Conference kicked off today with a secret memo circulating amongst the ‘rich’ participants. Originating with the US and UK, the memo details a significant departure from the Kyoto Framework. If its recommendations are enacted, rich countries will no longer be obliged to reduce their carbon emissions in proportion to poor countries – indeed, they would be permitted to continue emitting more than twice the carbon of the “developing world” all the way to 2050. This is truly a scandal.

From The Guardian:

A confidential analysis of the text by developing countries also seen by the Guardian shows deep unease over details of the text. In particular, it is understood to:

• Force developing countries to agree to specific emission cuts and measures that were not part of the original UN agreement;

• Divide poor countries further by creating a new category of developing countries called “the most vulnerable”;

• Weaken the UN’s role in handling climate finance;

Not allow poor countries to emit more than 1.44 tonnes of carbon per person by 2050, while allowing rich countries to emit 2.67 tonnes.

This development cannot be seen as anything less than an attempt by the “developed” world to renege on its Kyoto obligations. Working together, these rich polluters have much more “negotiating power” than their poor counterparts, and will likely be in a position to dictate terms.

One diplomat says:

“It is being done in secret. Clearly the intention is to get [Barack] Obama and the leaders of other rich countries to muscle it through when they arrive next week. It effectively is the end of the UN process,” said one diplomat, who asked to remain nameless.

Such talk smacks of neocolonialism, of utter disregard for the United Nations or international law. Ideas of “carbon exchanges” and “cap-and-trade” are meaningless if the rich still get to pollute twice as much as the poor. This memo is evidence of implicit bad-faith on the part of the 20th century colonists, and I’m not sure if the conference will be able to regain its credibility.


Written by pavanvan

December 9, 2009 at 9:26 am

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