Exclusive by Pat Carlson, Environment Chairman for Eagle Forum
Negotiators from BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India, and China) held an impromptu press conference Monday to set ground rules before thirty-five heads of state arrive at COP16. As the UN climate change conference begins it’s second week of meetings in Cancun, Mexico, President of COP16, Patricia Espinosa says she is receiving a “positive signal” all countries can reach a balanced package here, but BASIC countries are emphatic about items non-negotiable for them.
These four countries along with President Obama and US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton created resentment a year ago at COP15 by holding talks behind closed doors ultimately producing the Copenhagen Accord. Anger flared especially among other developing nations because of the exclusion of the meeting. China and India are the first and third largest Greenhouse Gas GHG emitters respectively with the US being number two. Also, China, India and Brazil have been accused of being the largest recipients of climate change funds and technology. All of this would suggest the BASIC countries consider themselves a notch above other developing countries.
India’s chief negotiator, Jairam Ramesh spoke for the group. He listed the non-negotiables as: (1) the Kyoto Protocol must be extended with a second commitment period for developed countries; (2) the $30 billion a year Fast Start money must be new and additional and begin flowing to developing countries immediately; and (3) a mechanism must be put in place to oversee technology transfer to poor countries with an emphasis on the importance of intellectual property barriers. All items will benefit only developing countries.
Earlier in the day, the United State’s chief negotiator, Todd Stern, said he believes there is “an agreement to be had” at COP16 not with details but based on principle. Stern stated the US supports the creation of the new Green Fund and wants to be one of the “funders” to what “we hope is a multi-billion dollar” fund. He emphasized the US will honor all commitments made in Copenhagen even though the US Senate refuses to pass climate change legislation. “President Obama has said ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat,’” quipped Stern. The US committed to GHG emission reductions of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 in Copenhagen. It’s been estimated the administration can only hope to achieve reduction levels of 14% through federal regulation and Executive Order. Even this will keep the US economy in a tailspin.
US Senators from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will be attending COP16. It’s obvious the Obama delegation is much too eager to put billions of taxpayer dollars in the open hands of developing nations as guilt money and to compromise on any agreement reached. The attendance of our elected officials will hopefully send a different message to the world.
Used with the permission of Eagle Forum.