The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC is holding the 16th annual Conference of the Parties COP16 in Cancún, Mexico from November 29 – December 10, 2010 with 20,000 delegates, NGO’s (green groups), business and media in attendance from 194 countries.
The conference has nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with fraudulently funneling the wealth of the industrialized nations to poorer nations with UN oversight. No one expects any progress on commitments at COP16. They know they just have to keep the issue alive until the global economy changes — i.e. Durban, S. Africa, COP17 in 2011. Leaders are saying in order for there to be “life after Cancún,” agreement from COP16 must be a “balanced, pragmatic package” with compromises so there’s “something on the tree for everybody” (referring to a Christmas tree). The pragmatism and compromise is expected to come from the 62 industrialized nations not the 132 developing nations.
The first day of the conference participants had commute times from their hotels to the conference center (10 miles) of three and one-half hours because Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon was in Cancun for the opening ceremony. He delivered the first speech of the day. He spoke with great concern about global warming and the damage humans are perpetrating on the planet citing the deaths of 60 people in Mexico because of weather extremes. The concern seemed a little displaced considering Mexico has had 22,000 reported deaths related to drug violence since 2006.
The second day commute times became an hour and a half for the same distance, but this still entailed three bus rides and four metal detectors with bags being x-rayed. The logistics make it virtually impossible to attend many functions. The press center is in one building with the press conferences being held in another building, a metal detector and bus ride away.
WHERE’S THE MONEY
Climate change pits rich against poor. The poor countries want what the rich countries have without having to earn it or pay for it. They’re making this happen by blaming every human tragedy on the industrialization and supposed over-consumption of rich countries. So the story goes, our high standard of living caused global warming by emitting too much green house gas into the atmosphere. This has created what is known as “historical debt.” The control lies with whomever holds the debt and the rich countries have pled guilty to the crime. To ease the guilt, they agreed at COP15 to payment of $30 billion to be paid by 2012 growing into $100 billion a year by 2020. The first $30 billion was Fast Start money. So far the European Union has contributed 7.2 billion euros, the U.S. $1.7 billion, and Japan $15.4 billion.
Poor countries have accused rich countries of “creative accounting” practices because much of what is being attributed to Fast Start money was distributed as loans. Poor countries want this money to be additional. Arthur Runde-Metzger, EU’s chief negotiator, made the case “consumers can repay loans . . . finance can be used like a revolving door . . . funds can be repaid and used by others. You don’t need grants. You have to make the best use of people’s money.” Poor countries and aid agencies countered, loans were not acceptable on principle. “Climate money for developing countries must come from grants, not loans — loans will simply shackle developing countries with more debt” said a Friends of the Earth climate campaigner. Runde-Metzger responded “most loans are made up of a grant element of up to 75%.” At this point, poor countries consider all money as compensatory payment for damages done.
There is the Adaptation Fund, the Mitigation Fund, and the Fast Start money, but COP16 is expected to create a new Green Fund to legitimize the $100 billion agreed to in Copenhagen. Transfers from developed country treasuries raises only part of the money, so an Advisory Group on climate change Finance (AGF) was established after COP15 to study ways to identify new sources of revenue. Some of the options were a levy on aviation and shipping; a financial transaction tax (FTT) levied on all financial market transactions involving stocks, bonds, and foreign exchanges; and a carbon tax. Developing countries have a strong objection to levies on aviation and shipping fearing it would hurt tourism and trade. Not to worry, they would be given rebates on any revenue collected. The report ascertained that even if all options were implemented it probably would not raise enough money.
The $100 billion per year is just the tip of the iceberg. World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) estimates that for developing countries to protect themselves against climate change or in truth, bankroll their economies, the amounts needed will range from $160 billion to $200 billion yearly by 2020. According to WWF, only with these large amounts of public money will it be possible to leverage for the much larger private investments required of $500 billion to $1 trillion annually.
The next big question is what entity will manage the collection and transfer of these large amounts of wealth from rich to poor? The basis for that structure is expected to be set forth at this conference and then finalized with binding commitments at COP17 in 2011. The new Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Ms. Christiana Figueres, stated in a press briefing that COP16 “is a litmus test for global governance capacity.” She added, “Cancun will be successful if governments compromise” launching “a new era.”
Will our newly elected Congress compromise on this? I DON’T THINK SO.
Used with the permission of Eagle Forum.