The debate about climate change is divided between the “Copenhagen Accord” that failed to be imposed by a group of countries led by the United States at the Copenhagen Conference held in December 2009, and the “People´s Agreement” that synthesizes the conclusions of the 17 working groups at the World People´s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth carried out in Cochabamba, Boliva from April 20th to 22nd, 2010.

The “People´s Agreement” stems from an integral vision of climate change, incorporating the issue of the structural causes of the climate crisis, the rupture of harmony with nature, the need to recognize the rights of Mother Earth in order to guarantee human rights, the importance of creating a Tribunal of Climate and Environmental Justice, the development of global democracy so that the people can decide on this issue affecting and the planet and all of humanity.

On the other hand, the Copenhagen Accord represents a step backward with relation to the Kyoto Protocol by proposing a methodology of voluntary commitments for the industrialized countries that are principally responsible for climate change.

COMPARISON

PEOPLE´S AGREEMENT COPENHAGEN ACCORD

Limit for Average Global Temperature Increase

Limit global temperature increase during the present century to  1º C in order to reduce the effects of climate change. For this,  it is proposed that the world return to greenhouse gas concentrations of 300ppm.

Limit the increase in temperature to 2º C, and, following an evaluation in 2015, see if it is possible to reach the goal of 1.5 º C.

Greenhouse Gas Reductions

50% reduction based on 1990 levels for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol (2013-2017), excluding carbon markets or other types of compensation.Demands that the United States ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Puts forth that all developed countries must make comparable reductions: for example, the US cannot reduce by 3% and the EU by 30%. Rejects attemps to annul the Kyoto Protocol. Does not set an aggregate goal for all developed countries. Proposes voluntary reductions commitments by developed countries, which means that they must only state what they plan to do.Does not establish criteria for comparable reductions among developed countries.Does not state that reductions should occur under the framework of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.According to the European Comission, voluntary commitments allocated thus far under the Copenhagen Accord represent real reductions of just 2% based on 1990 levels.

Climate Debt

Developed countries have a climate debt toward developing countries, Mother Earth, and future generations.

This climate debt consists of: returning the atmospheric space that has been occupied by the greenhouse gas emissions of developed countries, thereby affecting other countries;  a debt to Mother Earth that should be honored through the recognition and implementiation of a Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth at the United Nations; a debt to climate change migrants; a debt with regard to adaptation and development consisting of the costs developing countries must incurr to respond to the grave impacts of climate change.

No mention of climate debt.

Financing

Financing should be set aside for climate change in an amount greater than that which developed countries currently budget for defense, war, and security spending.Financing should should reach 6% of GDP for the developed countries historically responsible for climate change, should come from public funds not linked to carbon market mechanisms, and be in addition to Official Development Assistance. Approximately 30 billion US dollars for the period 2010-2012, which represents 0.005% of the annual GDP of developed countries.Mobilize 100 billion US dollars  by 2020 to attend to the needs of developing countries, which amounts to 0.05% of GDP.Approximately 50% of this financing would come from the carbon market.

Technology Transfer

Creation of a Multilateral and Multidisciplinary Mechanism that guarantees technology transfer for climate change that is free of intellectual property rights. Proposes a Technology Mechanism, but it is unclear whether this will simply be a showcase of available technologies.No mention of the need for changes to regimes of intellectual property rights.

Carbon Markets

Rejects the carbon market and other forms of dealing with climate change based on the market. Promotes the use of carbon markets and proposes the creation of new market mechanisms.

Forests

Rejects market mechanisms for the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.Proposes the creation of a mechanism that, unlike REDD+ or ++, respects the sovereignty of States, guarantees the rights of indigenous peoples and communities that live in forests, and is not based on carbon market mechanisms. Proposes incentives for actions related to REDD based on the carbon market.

Food and Agriculture

To confront the climate crisis, we must bring about a profound shift toward the sustainable models of agricultural production used by indigenous and farming communities, and other models and ecological practices  that contribute to solving the problem of climate change and guaranteeing food soveriegnty. No mention of food and agriculture.

Reclassification of Countries

Rejects the reclassification of developing countries according to their vulnerability. Respect for and application of Article 4.8 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Promotes the reclassification of developing countries according to climate change, giving preferential treatment according to vulnerability.

Climate Migrants

Protection and recognition of the rights and needs of those forced to migrate due to climate change. Highlights the need to raise this issue in negotiations. No mention of migration caused by climate change.

Justice and Fulfillment of International Commitments

Proposes the adoption of legally binding mechanisms to guarantee compliance with international treaties, as well as the creation of a Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal. Does not propose any mechanism for remedying compliance with international commitments by developed countries.

Referendum on Climate Change

Proposes a World Referendum on Climate Change so that the people can decide on this issue, one that is of vital importance to the future of humanity and Mother Earth. No mention of a mechanism for consulting populations.

Indigenous Peoples

Recognition and revalorization of indigenous roots of all humanity and full respect for the rights of indigenous peoples. No mention of indigenous peoples.

Rights of Mother Earth

Proposes to discuss and approve in the United Nations a Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth to reestablish harmony with nature. In an inter-dependent system, it is impossible to recognize rights for only the human side of that system. The only  way to defend human rights is to also recognize the rights of Mother Earth. These rights include the Earth´s right to life, the right to regenerate its biocapacity, the right to maintain its integrity, and the right of all to a clean environment. No mention of the rights of Mother Earth.

Structural Causes

Proposes to analyze and modify the structural causes of climate change. Affirms that these have to do with the capitalist system that is centered on the maximization of profit and the exploitation and commodification of nature. No mention of the structural causes of climate change.
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