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PACJA statement to AU: Reject Copenhagen Accord
2 February 2010

Acknowledgements: FANRPAN acknowledges Pacific.Scoop as the source of this article


PAN African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) urged African leaders attending the 14th Ordinary Summit of the Africa Union to reject the Copenhagen Climate Change Accord, or at best adopt a wait-and-see attitude, noting that both the conduct and outcome of the summit were unacceptable.

In an on-line statement to our correspondent PACJA acknowledged, appreciated and conveyed support to African Ministers and Negotiators, who stood for and defended the interests of the countries and continent of Africa during the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in December 2009, but urged Africa to be cautious when engaging in new rounds of negotiations.

Their statement came as the Chair of the Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) and Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action (ERA), Nnimmo Bassey, in an earlier e-mail said: “There has been massive efforts to place the blame of the failure of the Copenhagen talks on poor and vulnerable countries as well as on emerging nations”.

According to Bassey, ”this strategy of blaming the victims is not new. It was not an ethical stand in the past, and is less so now. This blame game is played to keep the world from critically examining the actual issues at stake – the urgent need for the rich nations to pay their huge climate debt and not merely make suggestions of little amounts they are willing to mobilise in the short and long terms. Enough of climate politics. African leaders must see the handwriting on the wall and stand for climate justice and now.”

PACJA is, however, insisting that Africa’s science-based position must not be abandoned, lending the group’s support to the two-track negotiating process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and calling upon all Parties to recognise the supremacy of the (UNFCCC) in addressing climate change.

‘We reiterate our displeasure and deep concerns about the way the Copenhagen climate talks was conducted,’ said PACJA coordinator Mithika Mwenda.

The Copenhagen Accord raises serious issues that must be considered by all African countries when deciding how to respond to it:
  • The Accord’s 2 degree global goal threatens Africa with catastrophic harm. Based on IPCC Fourth Assessment Report analysis, 2 degrees of global warming implies over 3 degrees of warming in all regions of Africa. We concur with Reverend Desmond Tutu that “a global goal of about 2 degrees C is to condemn Africa to incineration and no modern development”.
  • The proposed review of the Accord’s global goal to 1.5 degrees would occur too late — well after the date by which global emissions would have to peak and decline in order to secure this goal and to safeguard Africa’s future.
  • The Accord fails to include appropriate provisions to enable developing countries to adapt to climate change. It calls for “adequate” financial resources, for example, but fails to provide the same. The Accord reflects the inherent failure of an exclusive process to represent the interest of vulnerable countries that it excludes. An inclusive process under the UN is the only safeguard for poor and vulnerable countries.
  • The proposed inclusion of “bottom up” Annex I emission reduction pledges threatens the establishment of further commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, fails to require a science-based aggregate target, and threatens to shift the burden of mitigating climate change to developing countries. We call for a science-based, not a pledge-based, approach to setting Annex I targets.
  • The Accord would commit developing countries to new obligations regarding mitigation actions (which must be listed in an Annex), and for their measurement, reporting and verification. It does not link these to the provision of adequate finance and technology. Nor does it include new obligations on MRV for developed countries.
  • The proposed $10 billion in short-term financing for the period 2010 to 2012 is hopelessly inadequate. Some developed countries have already confirmed that this will not be “new and additional” and over and above ODA. Developing countries, which are already suffering billions in climate-related damage, will have their ODA budgets raided to address climate change. The African Group has called for short-term financing of around $400 billion, with $150 billion immediately available as “special drawing rights”. We should not retreat on our demands.
  • The proposal of $100 billion in longer-term financing is not a commitment to “provide” it from public sources, but merely to “mobilize” finance. US$100 billion is considerably lower than the amount proposed by the European Union ($100 billion Euro is over $140 billion USD). Assessments by the United Nations and other organizations confirm that much higher levels of financing will be required. Based on a goal of stabilizing concentrations of carbon dioxide below 350ppm – a goal essential to the survival and prosperity of Africa – the Africa Group has called for longer term financing by Annex I countries equivalent to 5% of their GDP.
  • The Accord calls for a Copenhagen Green Climate Fund but provides no indication of whether it will operate under the authority of the Conference of Parties. The Accord fails to address a range of factors called for by the African Group and other members of the G77 and China.
  • The Accord’s provisions on a range of issues – including adaptation, REDD, technology and finance – are inadequate.
  • The Accord includes terms that are (and deliberately) legally unclear and, in some cases, legally void. A document agreed outside the UNFCCC process, for instance, cannot require the UNFCCC Conference of Parties or Secretariat to undertake certain actions. Agreeing to these terms introduces legal uncertainty into the UNFCCC process.
”In our view the process by which the Accord was agreed (and its future role) risks establishing a dangerous precedent within the UN system. It risks creating a parallel system that may undermine the UNFCCC process and agreement on a deal under the UN that will truly safeguard Africa’s future,’ PACJA noted, adding, “based on these concerns, we encourage the countries of Africa to join their counterparts in other regions – including small island states such as Tuvalu — in rejecting the Accord. We support the statement by the representative of Tuvalu in Copenhagen that the future of his country would not be sold for “30 pieces of silver”

‘At a minimum, we call on our leaders to adopt a “wait and see” attitude to the Accord They must ensure that the Copenhagen Accord will not prejudice Africa’s negotiating position, or prejudge the outcome of the UNFCCC negotiations. African leaders must seek clarification of the relationship between the Accord and the UNFCCC process, and of those terms in the Accord that are legally uncertain or void. And they must ensure that Annex I countries deliver on their pledged emission reductions and their commitments to new and additional short-term financing.”

‘We hope that as we embark on another round of negotiations, the Danish Government will exercise impartiality to avoid a repeat of the Copenhagen fiasco”, said the Alliance’s representative in Central Africa, Augustine Njamnshi, who called upon all UNFCCC parties to strengthen their work within the UN system to address climate change.

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