December 07, 2010

Day 3: Update from the COP-16 climate summit at cancun, Mexico

A) COP-16 / Cancun Update day 3 : Host Mexican Govt attempts to Pick-and-Choose Country-Heads Who Are Invited To The Cancun Climate Summit – Repeating “Copenhagen Accord” model.

The UN decision making processes are supposed to be participatory with all member nations being able to express their view-points and take part in the debates and decision making – whatever their positions and size of economies are. In the last climate summit held in Copenhagen, the host Danish government tried to violate this sacred principle of collectivity, and secretly invited and involved a few heads of states from rich & ‘emerging’ economies to form a smaller group, and tried to justify that in the name of “efficient decision making” ! These small-group decision(s) were then pushed down the throat of the other nations – mostly poorer LDCs, threatened Island nations etc, and became the ill-famous “Copenhagen Accord”. This so called ‘accord’ has no legal standing as yet, but under the pressure of ‘big brothers’ and the lure of selectively getting some money, over 100 nations have joined in, with pledges of voluntary emission cuts / emission intensity reductions – and no mention of the demand for historical climate debt of the rich societies to poorer countries and no legally binding emission cuts even for the richest and most polluting countries.

In a repeat of the evil-designs of the Danish Govt in Copenhagen, the Mexican govt has selectively invited a few “chosen” heads of state to Cancun – for the concluding days of the summit when major decisions – if any – are generally negotiated / taken. They have carefully avoided the country-heads who have consistently raised progressive voices and demands, like the Plurinational govt of Bolivia. This amounts to a clear violation of the UN collectivity principle, and points towards sinister designs on the part of the host and its ‘controlling’ govts, for everywhere in Mexico, the overwhelming influence of the USA is visible with crystal clear view.

Several progressive govt delegations have raised an objection to this ‘selective invitation’, while even those heads of state who are planning to come on their own – have been excluded. The scene will unfold in the coming week, and the even limited agenda of the ‘summit’ will be determined by how the pulls & pushes pan out in the next few days.


A) In a welcome change, many country delegations are now talking about the necessity to continue the legally binding nature of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) and the need for a second commitment period after 2012, without any break from the first commitment period.

Unlike what happened during the last few days of the Copenhagen climate summit (COP-15) last December, several small & big country representatives (‘parties’ in the COP or official negotiators) are seen talking – in their initial submissions – about the need to continue the Kyoto protocol (which has its mandate till 2012) with its commitments of binding emission cuts for the rich countries, with its acceptance of the principle of “historical emission debt”, and of the “common but differentiated responsibility” for different countries. Except Australia, Japan and few such big-rich-polluters – who were harping on bigger developing countries assuming proportional responsibilities, many negotiators stressed on the necessity of continuing KP without a break and of no diversion from its accepted principles. Though the KP has many limitations, having highly inadequate targets & relying on market mechanisms to address the mitigation targets being two of the major ones, this little positive change from the total regression of the ‘Copenhagen accord’ is a welcome positive change.

But these are early days of the climate summit. What happens in the second week when the negotiating process heats up, will determine the outcome of this highly (and deliberately) under-hyped climate summit, at a time when the worlds vulnerable populations are facing sharply increased risks from climate change induced hazards.