Tuesday, 14 June 2011

UNFCCC climate negotiations at Bonn

The following key points are made by Bolivia in its climate blog and supported by poor nations -- those of the G77 who have not been bribed or beaten into supporting the Copenhagen Accord:
Photo: International Land Coalition
1. REDD+ is dangerous because while it allows polluters to buy cheap carbon credits and continue polluting, it does little to save ecosystems. In many cases, REDD loans will simply add to poor nations' debt, shifting the burden from rich to poor. Loopholes in REDD and LULUCF allow for so-called "sustainable" logging, GMO plantations, dubious IBI biochar megaprojects, etc. The BBC reported in 2009 that only 30% of offsets went to the projects, the rest went to bank and broker fees and profits. Consultation with local people/indigenes and prior consent are pious hopes rather than requirements. FOE and Greenpeace warn that REDD could lead to a "subprime carbon casino" bubble and bust. Other proposed "market mechanisms" remain vague but could have similar results. (e.g. BBC report on banks' latest REDD proposals 18 May 2011)

2. The $30 million "fast start" money should not be spent on economic experts' TEEB-style calculations to commodify the commons for carbon markets, but to save ecosystems now. The funding should be new aid, not loans, not re-labeled from previous commitments. Most of the Accord's "fast start" pledges are not new money.

3. UN negotiations and national actions should aim at preserving ecosystems. Present emission trends and targets take us to a disastrous 4C climate change by 2100. Climate change already kills 300,000 a year (Kofi Annan's thinktank, the Global Humanitarian Forum) -- and additional suffering is due to recurrent food crises (Lester Brown of EPI). We should be looking closely at the spiritual, ethical and legal implications of Rights of Mother Earth aka Rights of Nature.

4. The FTT (Financial Transaction Tax, aka Tobin tax, Robin Hood tax, UN Global tax) could fully finance climate action and MDGs while slowing speculative surges. It is bitterly opposed by the US Treasury, Wall St and its allies. Before Cancun, Britain and France, Stiglitz and Sachs supported the FTT -- with little heard since from the politicos*. This reminds me of Paul Hawken's history of the UN corporate social responsibility initiative, "closed down altogether" just after the 1992 Rio Summit, under pressure from the misnamed Business Council for Sustainable Development (forerunner of the WBCSD) and its G8 allies (Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce, p.168).

*However, this year FTT has won support in studies by the Catholic CIDSE, International Tax Review, Europeans For Financial Reform (EFFR), Neil McCulloch of IDS, and was to be discussed by EU Finance Ministers on 14 June. A report from the European Commission is to be published soon.

No comments: