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No ‘New Deal’ with Climate, Inc.: For a People’s Protocol on Climate Change

IBON Int’l calls for new post-2015 climate protocol 

Full Text: 
 
IBON International, in solidarity with civil society organisations (CSOs) and people’s movements around the world, take action for climate justice to demand a new Peoples’ Climate Protocol in 2015.  We demand a real ‘new deal’ grounded in climate justice, human rights, social equity, and participatory democracy, with a commitment to public financing and major shifts in prevailing economic paradigms to meet sustainable development objectives.
 
On 23 September, world leaders are to come together for a United Nations-sponsored Climate Summit in New York. The Summit is being branded as a watershed moment to bring about a paradigm-shifting new deal on climate change and sustainable development, buttressed by promises for a post-2015 development agenda and a new set of goals as a successor to the MDGs[1].
 
But as official negotiations resume in Lima and supposedly to meet the deadline by COP 21 in Paris, the debate still rages over what this new climate deal will look like.
 
Reaffirming the fundamental principles underpinning the international climate negotiations, IBON International insists on a legally binding global climate agreement to drastically cut carbon emissions, as opposed to a weak ‘voluntary pledge and review’ system.
 
Reluctance to agree on legally binding and meaningful commitments towards real action on climate change has put the world on track to a planetary emergency.  Emissions have in fact increased at a time when science warns of the need to commit to a major reduction in the use of fossil fuels – by 2020 – if we are to avoid its most devastating impacts.
 
Any legally-binding approach for all parties must be consistent with a core principle of the UN Climate Convention – equity, as expressed in the provision on common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and respective capacities agreed to by Parties in 1992.  
 
Developed countries that have contributed the most to the climate crisis have a historical responsibility to take the lead in cutting emissions, as well as to provide finance and technology to developing countries and societies suffering from the impacts of climate change.
 
In this regard, recent attempts by governments to avoid binding commitments by passing the responsibility to the private sector are both irresponsible and self-defeating. These include financing corporations for supposedly ‘green’ projects’ in developing countries, through the “private sector facility” of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Worryingly, the GCF offers no clear-cut rules against funding dirty energy in developing countries, and offers no support for a human rights-based approach (HRBA) to development. 
 
Despite scientific warnings that the world will breach the globally agreed goal of 2-degree warming as early as 2050, and this would have huge impacts for the world, governments continue to support policies that perpetuate fossil fuel industries. Years of negotiations have resulted in a mere 39 industrialized countries agreeing to a pitifully low collective reduction of  18% below 1990 levels in the period of 2013 – 2020, contrary to the required global reduction of 60 – 70% that is needed in the first half of the century in order to avoid cataclysmic climate change due to global warming.
 
Advanced industrialized countries are going backwards and actually promoting fossil fuel industry and locking the world in even further energy dependence on fossil fuels. The Canadian government supports dirty investments such as the development of tar sands and the industrialization of a vast area of Indigenous territories, forests and wetlands in northern Alberta. States and federal governments in Australia continue to support the expansion of the coal industry making their economy more coal dependent. And despite being one of the worst carbon polluters per person in the world, it plans to build a dozen more new dirty coal power stations that are estimated to increase Australia's total emissions by 7 percent.
 
The US government, historically the number one emitter in the world, is bent on the operationalization of the Keystone XL Pipeline that will carry one of the worlds dirtiest fuels, tar sands oil, into the United States and transport it to refineries on the Gulf Coast and ports for international exports. Russia has just signed a $400bn 30-year deal contract with China, which has recently topped the US for being the greatest emitter of GHGs, to provide 38bn cubic metres of natural gas each year.
 
The European Union proposes to end binding national targets for energy savings and renewables after 2020. EU’s backtracking on their commitments for a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050 sets aside the issue of climate change to the back burner of their priorities to deal with their own immediate economic crisis.
 
If these trends continue, transnational corporations stand to gain the most from the climate crisis. These same actors are part and parcel of a global system that has facilitated the plunder of the world’s resources; the denial of the rights to food, health and water; the promotion of unfair trade policies and financial liberalisation; and the refusal of the North to make clear commitments for developing countries over trade, finance, technology transfer and capacity building.  
 
IBON International condemns the growing influence of corporate lobby groups in the UN influencing the positions of national governments in multilateral processes and negotiations. Their rhetoric to the contrary, all this warns of business as usual.
 
We demand a new climate deal that puts people first, one that recognises and reinforces the leading role of civil society and the public sector in efforts to combat climate change and its impacts. 
 
We call on all developing countries to demand reparations from Annex 1 countries for their historical emissions, and to put a stop to the corporate plunder of natural resources.
 
We reiterate the need for a Peoples’ Protocol on Climate Change consistent with the needs and aspirations of millions around the world: 
 
Comprehensive and concerted but differentiated and equitable global effort to limit global average temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius;
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must peak before 2020 and then rapidly decline to achieve zero carbon emissions around the middle of the century through gender-responsive, socially just and environmentally sound national actions that take into account gender equity, intergenerational equity, and equity between countries;
 
Urgently phase out economic activities, including dirty energy and mass deforestation, that are incompatible with planetary boundaries, while ensuring adequate redress of damages based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle;
Ensure full allocation and disbursement of adequate, appropriate and new climate finance through effective means of implementation, with gender-sensitive social and environmental safeguards, to support the mitigation and adaptation efforts of developing countries that are already facing climate impacts, in addition to financial compensation for loss and damages  
At all levels, governments must uphold genuine sustainable development for the people.
 
IBON International calls on all civil society organizations and the public to support the weeklong series of peoples’ mobilizations and activities in New York to oppose false solutions in confronting the climate crisis and take action for climate justice and the fight for system change.#
 
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[1] Millennium Development Goals – parallel UN negotiations are underway to replace the MDGs with a new set of “Sustainable Development Goal” (SDGs by 2015) – intended to integrate environmental objects more fully into whatever replaces the MDGs.  These are happening under two separate negotiating processes, and it is unclear at this point whether and how both tracks are to be merged into a cohesive set of goals.

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