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UN conference approves climate deal over Bolivia protest

4:30 am local time - At this hour, the Associated Press is reporting that, "A UN conference has approved one of two key climate agreements, overriding objections from Bolivia."

"The South American nation tried in vain to stop the president of the conference, Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa, from gaveling the decision at the climate talks in Cancun. Decisions at the UN climate talks are typically taken by consensus, but Espinosa says consensus doesn't ‘mean that one country has the right to veto' decisions supported by everyone else."

Though what this all means isn't clear at this moment, the Telegraph UK was reporting a few hours ago that, "Drafts of the agreement, which say deeper cuts in carbon emissions are needed to help combat the rate of global warming, have broadly been agreed."

"On Saturday morning the BBC reported that drafts of an agreement had been broadly agreed and delegates cheered as the US, China and Japan endorsed the deal."

"The new draft sets out the need for deep cuts in carbon emissions, but does not establish mechanisms for achieving the pledges countries have made, according to the BBC. They reported that it also sets up a fund to help poor countries cope with climate change."

6 am - In a media release, Bolivia states that, "the Cancun text is a hollow and false victory that was imposed without consensus, and its cost will be measured in human lives."

"This text clearly fails (to effectively reduce emissions to prevent runaway climate change), as it could allow global temperatures to increase by more than 4 degrees, a level disastrous for humanity."

"Recent scientific reports show that 300,000 people already die each year from climate change-related disasters. This text threatens to increase the number of deaths annually to one million."

"A so-called victory for multilateralism is really a victory for the rich nations who bullied and cajoled other nations into accepting a deal on their terms. The richest nations offered us nothing new in terms of emission reductions or financing, and instead sought at every stage to backtrack on existing commitments, and include every loophole possible to reduce their obligation to act."

"When Bolivia said we did not agree with the text in the final hours of talks, we were overruled. An accord where only the powerful win is not a negotiation, it is an imposition."

9 pm ET - IPS reports that, "If success is measured by delaying difficult decisions, then the Cancún climate meeting succeeded..."

"The 100+ pages that form the ‘Cancún Agreements' will do nothing to curb greenhouse gas emissions warming the planet..."

1. Emission cuts
"There was formal agreement...that emissions cuts needed to be in line with the science - 25 to 40 percent cuts by 2020 - and the global temperature rise target should be kept below two degrees instead of at two degrees as the target in the Copenhagen Accord."

"(But) current pledges under the Copenhagen accord translate into global temperature rises of three to five degrees C by most analyses."

2. Non-binding
"Japan, Canada, the United States and Russia successfully undermined any binding agreement on how to reach those targets by lobbying to abandon the Kyoto Protocol and replacing it with a weak pledge and review system as proposed in the Copenhagen Accord..."

3. Climate fund
"A Green Climate Fund was also agreed to with a $100-billion commitment by 2020, with a re-commitment of $30 billion by 2012 to help developing countries reduce their emissions and adapt to impacts of climate change."

4. World Bank
"The fund will be managed by a board with equal representation from developed and developing countries with funding channeled through the World Bank for the first three years."

5. Deforestation
"Delegates adopted a decision that establishes a three-phase process for tropical countries to reduce deforestation and receive compensation from developed countries, and it includes protections for forest peoples and biodiversity."

"Most here believe this agreement sets the stage for a substantive agreement at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban next December."

"In the end, Bolivia's continued objections were drowned out by applause and cheering by more than 190 national delegations as the chair of the meeting, Mexico's foreign secretary Patricia Espinosa, gaveled the meeting to a close declaring ‘a consensus without Bolivia'."

The full IPS article is at http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=53842.

Brent Patterson, Director of Campaigns and Communications, Council of Canadians


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