Poor slam US-led deal; say Obama acting like an emperor

Last Updated: Saturday, December 19, 2009 - 13:00

Copenhagen: A US-brokered deal with four
emerging economies, including India, on climate change that
places no legally-binding emission cuts on developed countries
ran into rough weather on Saturday with a majority of poor countries
rejecting it, saying that it was one-sided.

The deal between the US and BASIC (Brazil, South Africa,
India and China) bloc is apparently a gain for develop
countries which are required under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to
take legally binding emission cuts.

The Protocol expires on 2012 and the 194-nation
Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations here has
apparently failed to get a word on its extension.

India calls it’s a “good deal”

Indian negotiators -- Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh
and Prime Minister`s Special Envoy on Climate Shyam Saran --
themselves acknowledged the fact that the deal is not done
until it is approved by the plenary. However, Ramesh claimed
that it was "a good deal."

"Right now we have a document that says that we continue
with negotiations on what to do about the future, including
the Bali Action Plan and Kyoto Protocol," Saran said.

Many term it as disrespect

Angry delegates of many countries like Tuvalu, Bolivia,
Costa Rica, Venezuela and Cuba slammed the US-BASIC deal for
showing them great "disrespect" by leaving them out of the
drafting process and imposing their document on vast majority.

Cuban delegates said that US President Barack Obama, who
brokered the US-BASIC deal, was "behaving like an emperor" and
claimed that the draft was a "gross violation principle of
sovereign equality."

Sudanese delegate Lumumba Di-Aping compared the deal to
the "Holocaust."

"This document cannot be accepted for adoption by the
parties present here," said delegates from Costa Rica,
adding that there was an absence of a legally-binding treaty.

The final draft contains elements like a limit of 2
degrees in temperature rise on the basis of equity, peaking of
global and national emissions as soon as possible, factoring
in overriding priorities of poverty for developing nations.

It calls on Annex I parties or industrialised nations to
set their emission targets by February 2010 and also asks the
developing countries to do the same.

In the contentious area of Monitoring, Verification and
Reporting (MVR), it provides that unsupported actions could be
subject to assessment only by domestic institutions but adds a
new provision for international consultations and analysis
without impinging on national sovereignty.

On the finance side, it provides USD 100 billion for
long-term funding for developing countries and USD 30 billion
for short-term, which would go to the poorest and most
vulnerable.

"The Chinese Premier (Wen Jiabao) took the lead in
finding a compromise, and our Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh),
President Lula (Da Silva of Brazil) and President (Jacob) Zuma
(of South Africa) also participated," Ramesh said.

The four leaders, after holding their own discussions,
approached Obama, who was not only negotiating on behalf of
the US but was also acting as a mediator between Europe and
the BASIC, he said. "Whatever the deal India has got is on
behalf of the four (BASIC) countries."

However, Ramesh said they had a draft Copenhagen outcome
which had been substantially approved by "this smaller group."

"Now this goes to the plenary, the plenary has to
approve. There are still some differences of opinion. China
and Small Island States are battling it out."

During the 60-minute meeting between Obama and BASIC
leaders, the US President was very appreciative of the
unilateral measures India was taking.

"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also said that there was
no question of making our unilateral commitments
internationally legally binding, we will reflect them in an
international agreement in a suitable way but we are not going
to take any internationally legally binding commitments.

That
is simply not on the cards," Ramesh noted, adding Obama
appreciated Singh`s statement.

During the meeting, the Minister said, "unfortunately"
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President
Nicolas Sarkozy did not seem appreciative of India`s point of
view. "At a couple of moments, there were sharp exchanges
between me and President Sarkozy," he told a news channel adding
the Indian side also had some problem with Australian Prime
Minister Kevin Rudd.

However, he said, after the meeting these leaders said
they respected Singh and knew what a "great Prime Minister he
is and what good job India is doing."

Ramesh said that the Indian side "had very fruitful
discussions with Obama" and that "India has a good deal."

At the climate meet, delegates from Tuvalu suggested
that rich countries wanted to buy the poor countries` vote by
promises of aid. "For 30 pieces of silver we cannot betray our
own people. Our future is not for sale."

Bolivia said that giving parties one hour to decide on
the US-BASIC deal was "disrespectful" and that it ignored two
years of work on the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Action Plan.

Nicaragua said the process of forging the draft, which
was led by the US, lacked "legitimacy", "transparency," and
"democratic participation."

The agreement could only be arrived "at open,
transparent and legitimate process and adopted by consensus in
the working group," its delegate said, while placing two
proposals in front of all delegates to suspend COP 15 meet
here and pursue work under the Kyoto Protocol and Bali Action
Plan expeditiously in further meetings.

Indian officials noted that the US-brokered deal had
addressed India`s concerns adequately, although some
improvements could be made.

"The red lines have been met," Saran said, noting that
India did not have to compromise on any of its fundamental
stands on the issue.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, December 19, 2009 - 13:00

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