Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What happened in Copenhagen Summit last year?

March 17, Crowne Plaza, Ortigas Center – In the Second Forum on Climate Change: A Post-Copenhagen Debriefing and Prognosis on the Way Forward, Bernarditas de Casto-Muller, senior negotiator on climate change and South Centre advisor, discussed what really happened on Copenhagen Summit last December 2009 that frustrates all environmentalists and advocates. According to the news, the summit that happened in Denmark was a failure, because there were no clear directions from the world leaders to lessen carbon emissions and other environmental hazards. The biggest disappointment though was that US President Barack Obama didn’t give any clear stand on the issue that developing countries are waiting.

According to Muller, in the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention (COP 12) in Bali, Indonesia, there’s a comprehensive process to enable the full, effective and sustainable implementation of the Convention through a long-term cooperative action, now, up to beyond 2012, in order to reach an agreed outcome and adopt a decision at the fifteen session. This was indicated in the Bali Action Plan and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. She mentioned that there were five key points/elements that summarized the idea of COP12: shared vision, mitigation, adaptation, technology development and transfer, and provision of financial resources. The ultimate objective of COP was stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate change. In the case of the Philippines, its meant to limit below 2 degrees Celsius temperature increase. Unfortunately, it is too late to prevent the 2 degree Celsius limit of increase. The only thing that we can do now is adaptation through the use of technology and proper financing for mitigation plans.

According to Muller, the perceptions on COP 15 in Copenhagen, Denmark were:

* Had numerous routes and byways: G8/MEF; G20; bilateral meetings; “vulnerable countries”; the “circle commitment”; funded “consultants” of developing countries

* Waiting for the US

* Killing Kyoto?

* Developed countries stalling at negotiating tables

* Myth and message to media: “G77 is blocking the negotiations”

* Block negotiations and if everything else fails “Blame China”

According to Muller the reasons on the failure of Copenhagen were:

* A travesty of the intergovernmental process with no respect for the sovereign of States

* Exclusion of Parties: Climate change affects all countries, and most of all, poor, developing countries: given one hour to decide their future

* No transparency of procedures

* Made a parody of negotiations

* Ministers, & in particular Presidents, do not negotiate

* Nobody can act for all countries but only their own

The COP decision to “take note of” of the accord:

* Recognizes “scientific view” of limit of temperature increase below 2 C

* Only “pledge and review” of emissions reductions for the developed countries

* Disconnect between pledges and achievement of “scientific view”

* Denial of historical responsibilities means denial of commitments on financing and technology, the hey to the balance of common but differentiated responsibilities

(The objective of COP15)

The implications of the Copenhagen Accord to the developing countries showed that there was no clarity between supported and enabled nationally-appropriated mitigation actions. It also showed that financing has unclear procedures for its allotment and disbursement, and according to Muller financing is not new, not sure and not even be there.

Muller strongly claimed that the developing countries are experiencing the effect of climate change and also the developed countries. In the case of COP, it is hard for a leader to decide for the whole world because he or she can only speak for his or her country and that is the dilemma in COP. However, Muller remained is positive for the COP16 at the Cancun, Mexico on November 29 to December 10, 2010 which would continue to undermine the inter-governmental process and work out agreements at the bilateral, regional, or issue-focused meetings to strengthen the accord on adaptation, mitigation, financing and technology transfer. Climate Change falls on the category of United Nation Millennium Developmental Goal # 7: Environmental Sustainability.

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