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UN Convention Bali: Industrial Nations Put Brakes on Climate Talks by Imposing Conditions on Developing Countries

World Future Council: Bali must lead to ongoing process at ministerial level to move beyond carbon-driven economy

Nusa Dua, Bali (Indonesia), 08 December 2007

At the mid-way point of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali, the World Future Council (WFC) today accused delegates from the world’s wealthiest nations, above all the USA and Canada, of putting the brakes on negotiations. Industrial countries, especially the US, still refuse to commit to drastic cuts in CO2 emissions. This suggests that an agreement on binding climate protection resolutions for the period after 2012 is becoming less likely. In a breach of the Kyoto Protocol, industrialised countries, who are most responsible for the causes of climate change, are attempting to tie-in their emissions commitments with concessions from emerging countries such as China and Brazil.

Jakob von Uexküll, founder of the WFC, said a mere agreement on negotiations towards a comprehensive climate change deal that all nations can embrace would not be a breakthrough, as UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has described it, but a failure to respond to climate change effectively. If rich industrialised countries are serious about limiting an increase in average global temperatures to 2°C, then they would have to commit to zero emissions by 2020. Current pledges of 80% cuts by 2050 would be too conservative. The World Future Council demands that Environment Ministers arriving next week should speed up the negotiations towards clear binding reduction targets.

Jakob von Uexküll said: “Bali is the most important international meeting in history. Accelerating climate chaos threatens global peace, security, and progress. From now on the negotiating process needs to reflect this”. Von Uexküll added that the Bali outcome must be an ongoing process to move beyond the carbon-driven economy towards a carbon-absorbing economy: “Countries with similar interests should appoint joint representatives with the mandate to negotiate until agreement is reached on a binding CO2 reduction programme which -- in scope and timing -- reflects what the science now demands.”

To conclude talks on Bali without agreeing binding emissions reduction targets would be, according to the World Future Council, a major setback in the race to prevent climate chaos, as the first Treaty Obligation period expires in 2012.

Stefan Schurig, WFC Climate/Energy Director, called on wealthy countries to live up to their responsibilities and set up an international investment fund that guarantees rapid technology transfer from the north to the south. This would give poorer countries privileged access to renewable energy technologies to help them bypass the failures of the fossil fuel driven economy with truly sustainable development.

Stefan Schurig, WFC Climate/Energy Director, said in Bali: “Scientists have clearly demonstrated in the last few months that we need to restructure our entire economy towards sustainability in order to limit average global temperature rise to below 2°C. Recent studies show that even the most alarming predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were too conservative. Political action must do justice to scientific facts. We have to acknowledge Bali as a “crisis summit.”

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