by Ambassador Pablo Solon of the Plurinational State of Bolivia
United Nations, New York, August 11, 2010
Good morning. Thank you very much for coming. We wanted to call this press conference to share with you how we see the process of negotiation after the last talks we had in Bonn.
First of all, we think that now we have in the UN a text that reflects the positions of the different parties, of the different states. When we began the negotiation in Bonn, we had a text from the chair. Now the text is a text from the different states, and that is something positive. The second issue is that in this text we have now not only the options of the Copenhagen Accord, but also other options from other states and also from the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth that took place in Bolivia in April.
Why is this so important? I’ll just highlight five key elements.
The first one is the temperature. To have a negotiating text that is only focused on a 2 degree scenario is something very negative from our point of view. Why? Because of what we are seeing now. With a scenario of 0.8 degrees Celsius, we are seeing so many terrible natural disasters in Pakistan, in Russia, in Indian, and in several parts of the world. Can you imagine this multiplied by 3?
Now in the negotiation, we have to discuss: are we going to keep to the scenario of 2 degrees Celsius, or are we going to go to the scenario of 1 or 1.5 degrees like different parties are asking for. And we think this is very important.
The second issue that on the table now is the relationship between the pledges of emissions reductions of developed countries and the scenario that we want to achieve. Because if we want to limit the temperature to an increase of 1 degree Celsius or 1.5, or 2 degrees Celsius, there is a budget of carbon that we can send into the atmosphere over the next 40 years. For a scenario of 2 degrees Celsius, that that carbon budget is 750 gigatons. For a scenario of 1.5 degrees Celsius, the budget is 420 gigatons. What does this mean? That if all countries send into the atmosphere more than 420 gigatons in the next 40 years, then the temperature is going to be very far away from a scenario of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
So the key thing is the commitment that developed countries are going to make for the coming years until 2020 have to take account the global budget that we have until 2050. And we have shown the numbers in the Ad-Hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol that demonstrate we are in a very difficult situation because developed countries are going to spend the entire budget that they have taking into account only their population… for forty years they are going to spend it in ten years.
So those are the points of negotiation: what is the relationship between the target that we want to achieve in relation to the temperature, and the commitments that developed countries are going to have, and if those commitments are in line with that target. Until now, and that is the bad thing about the negotiation in Bonn, it has been demonstrated in a very clear way that even the target of 2 degrees Celsius that is not supported, I would say, by many countries, is not going to be possible to achieve with the current pledges that developed countries have made under the Copenhagen Accord. So this is the second issue that is key in the process of negotiation.
The third issue that has been improved is there has been a proposal of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth regarding the development of an international court of climate justice. The mechanisms that exist under the convention and under the Kyoto Protocol are not strong enough to guarantee the compliance of We need to develop an international court of climate justice that will follow-up on and that will judge whether developed countries or not achieving the targets that we all agree on. Without this, we can have any kind of agreement, but at the end of the day, we will not have a compliance mechanism that is strong enough to guarantee what has been agreed on in that document. Now that proposal is on the table.
The fourth key issue is the issue of how much are developed countries going to dedicate to adverse climate change issues. The position of the Copenhagen Accord was 100 billion dollars per year by 2020. Now in the text of negotiation, there are different proposals. Proposals that ask for financing of 1.5% of the GDP of developed countries, proposals like the one Bolivia has made that asks for 6% of the GNP of developed countries to address climate change issues.
And for us this is a key element. I just want to quote what the chair of the IPCC said a couple of weeks ago in an event in Mexico. If 3% of the international GDP is not spent on mitigation actions, the consequences that we are going to see in the coming years are going to be unsustainable for humanity and for our planet.
And we have to take into account that mitigation is one very important element – how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But there are also other problems that we are seeing now that have to do with adaptation. For example, what is the cost of the millions of persons that in Pakistan have lost everything? And who is responsible? And how are we going to deal with that situation? And as we have said before, 100 billion dollars – which is what the Copenhagen Accord presents as a figure – means twenty dollars per person in developed countries per year. We think that is absolutely insignificant based on what we are seeing now and what could be even worse than the present situation.
I don’t want to go through all the elements, I just want to highlight one more that now is on the negotiating table: the issue of how we’re going to relate with nature. The proposal in the Copenhagen Accord was through market mechanisms. Develop new market mechanisms, a new carbon market, new carbon rights so that the persons or companies that take care of nature do so because they can get some kind of profit out of it.
That is one position. And now there is the other proposal – the proposal that we call Mother Earth’s Rights. It’s not a problem of developing new mechanisms to commodify our nature, our forests. We think not in terms of a social contract, but in terms of an environmental and social contract. What are the limits that we as humans have to assume in order to restore balance with nature, with what we call our Mother Earth?
So we have now on the table the main positions of discussion. And we have very little time from here until Cancun. Before Cancun, we are going to meet for six days in China. That will be at the beginning of October. there, our proposal is to try to reach consensus on the majority of paragraphs leaving the most substantive elements for he last ten days of negotiation in Cancun. We think that is absolutely possible, but we need to have political will from all the different governments.
From our point of view, to postpone an agreement in Cancun to South Africa – that will be in December 2011 – is a bad choice. Because we are already seeing what is happening with climate change. And to postpone any kind of decision in relation to this means that we will do nothing in the face of the reality of situations like we have seen in Russia and Pakistan and other parts of the world.
so, from our point of view it is necessary to keep the process as a party-driven process. Avoid any kind of attempt to bring a document from the air or from a like-minded group of countries and try to impose it at the end in Cancun. That will only provoke more conflict in this multilateral process of negotiation. We need to move as fast as possible now that we have come back to the track of the multilateral process of negotiation.
Thank you and I am open to the questions that you have.
Q: Do you think the Bonn conference was successful? Also, yesterday, Monday, Ban Ki-Moon said he didn’t think consensus would be reached in Mexico. What is your reaction to his statement?
I think the Bonn negotiation was a step forward in bringing back the process of negotiation to the UN. The Bonn Conference was not successful in raising the levels of commitments of developed countries in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that is something that we must be very worried about. When it comes to the issue of Cancun, we don’t understand why it was so important, so urgent to come to an agreement in Copenhagen, and now suddenly the same political leaders are saying that in Cancun the most realistic thing is to postpone an agreement for South Africa. We think that if it was so important in Copenhagen last year, now it’s even more important. And the reality of what we have seen in the last year is showing this.
Q: What do you think would be the main arguments against reaching a deal in Cancun, and what are the positions about the international tribunal that you are proposing?
In reality, if you were in Bonn in negotiation with the 192 countries, you would feel that everybody says we want to have a deal in Mexico. But when you hear statements outside of the process of negotiation you would begin to be very worried. Because they are saying, well it’s not very realistic, we don’t have enough time, everybody is worried because the United States has dropped its energy law and it’s not going to move forward on this issue before Cancun, so if the US doesn’t move forward why should others move forward. So those are the elements that speak to why there won’t be an agreement by Cancun. From our point of view, and I have said it before, we think that now it is more urgent than before.
When it comes to the international court of climate justice, now it is in the text. It is in two parts of the text, under shared vision and under mitigation. There hasn’t yet been a discussion on this. The discussion will be in China in the next round of negotiations.
Are there any other questions? If not, let me thank you for coming today. Thank you very much.