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We, the people attending the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia, demand to the countries that have over-consumed the atmospheric space to acknowledge their historic and current responsibilities for the causes and adverse effects of climate change, and to honor their climate debts to developing countries, to vulnerable communities in their own countries, to our children’s children and to all living beings in our shared home – Mother Earth. Read the rest of this entry »

1.            CLIMATE DEBT CONCEPT

Climate debt is an obligation of compensation that is generated because of the damage done to Mother Earth by the irrational emissions of greenhouse gases. The primary responsible for these irrational emissions are the so-called “developed countries “, inhabited by only 20% of the world population, and which emitted  75% of historical emissions of greenhouse gases. These states, which stimulated the capitalist development model, are responsible for climate debt, but we shouldn’t forget that within these states, there live poor and indigenous peoples which are also affected by this debt. The most affected are the poorest developing countries, future generations and our Mother Earth.

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Historically, 75% of greenhouse gas emissions have been produced by the so-called “developed” countries in which only 20% of the world’s population resides. Now that we are facing the impacts of global warming, those most affected will undoubtedly be the poorest; “developing” countries, future generations, and the Mother Earth.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change recognizes that obligation by affirming that developed countries are historically responsible for those emissions, and in sustaining that they should take the initiative to combat climate change. This fact is expressed in the existence of the Kyoto Protocol, under which countries obligated to reduce greenhouse gases are the developed countries listed in Annex 1 of the Convention.

What are the components of climate debt? To whom do developed countries owe this debt? How can we compensate for or repair the damage incurred? The mission of this working group is to produce a text that systematizes and expands upon the concept of climate debt, enumerating its components, its creditors, and forms of compensation.

Debate and result objectives for the group

  • To build a joint vision regarding climate debt
  • To discuss possible incentives for the compensation of climate debt.
  • To discuss the difference between Climate Debt and the Copenhagen Accord.

Main questions to be discussed

  • What is Climate Debt?
  • Why is it that climate change cannot be discussed without considering equity?
  • What elements make up Climate Debt?
  • How should Climate Debt be compensated?
  • What is the relationship between historical responsibility and climate debt?
  • How are the Climate Debt and the Ecological Debt related?
  • How are Climate Debt and the Copenhagen Accord related?

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(Roque Pedace) The climate system is a (global) ‘commons’ with different environmental roles. Up to the industrialization era it was considered a public good , since in practice it was infinite (it didn’t wear out with use) and non exclusive (use does not prevent others from using it). As greenhouse gases (GHG) have accumulated, the latter property was lost, since the current and future users no longer enjoy the possibility of emitting these gases without restrictions, since we are running the risk of a climate catastrophe for all. The system can now be compared to a road or a bridge, that wear out insignificantly when used, but which have a limited transportation capacity (in this case, the capacity of the atmosphere to absorb and recycle emissions in a stable way). Read the rest of this entry »

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