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Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 19 to 22, 2010
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Press release: Bolivia launches World Peoples’ Climate Summit at UNFCCC talks in Bonn
April 11, 2010 in Press
Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s ambassador to the UN, at a press conference during UNFCCC negotiations in Bonn on 10 April condemned continued attempts by some developed countries to impose a deeply flawed Copenhagen Accord as the basis for future negotiations: “The only way to get negotiations back on track not just for Bolivia or other countries, but for all of life, biodiversity, our Mother Earth is to put civil society back into the process.”
Solon explained it was this belief that motivated Bolivia to host an historic World Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth on 19-22 April 2010 to which more than 15,000 people and up to 70 governments are expected to attend.
“The central aim of any climate summit is not to save itself and accept any outcome, but to come to an agreement that will save humanity.” Solon said that the Copenhagen Accord sadly marked a “backwards step” so could never be acceptable as a basis for further negotiations. Solon pointed out that the European Union’s own analysis of the Copenhagen Accord admitted that it would lead to an increase of temperatures of up to four or five degrees.
“This is no kind of solution. Yet at these talks [in Bonn] we never hear developed nations admitting concern over this. Instead the US claims this is the best agreement we have had. Are we really willing to say that allowing temperatures to rise to four or five degrees is a good goal?”
Solon reiterated the demands of many developing nations by calling on industrialized nations to rebuild trust. “You cannot rebuild trust by legalizing the same methods that led to the failure in Copenhagen.” Solon called for talks to be returned to the full UNFCCC process, and to develop on what had been agreed in COP15.
Solon commenting on news that the US and Denmark were withdrawing aid from countries like Bolivia for their opposition to the Copenhagen Accord said, “This in their rights, but unfair and clearly an attempt to punish Bolivia. What kind of negotiation is it where you lose money if you disagree?” Solon said that Bolivia would not back down due to such threats. “We are a country with dignity and sovereignty and will maintain our position.”
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Webcast of press conference can be seen at http://unfccc2.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/100409_AWG/templ/play.php?id_kongresssession=2608&theme=unfccc
Bless Bolivia for Recharging the Fight to Rescue Our Climate
April 1, 2010 in Press
(Bill McKibben, Huffington Post) In a week when the American president has decided our energy policy should involve lots more offshore oil drilling, it’s easy to despair–it doesn’t look like it’s going to be much of an Earth Day in the U.S. this April. But maybe we’ll get a jolt of political energy from the south, courtesy of the groups and leaders assembling from across the world in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This People’s Summit on Climate Change will be seen as naive by precisely the kind of people applauding the president for turning on the oil spigots today–after all, its by definition a People’s Summit, free from the kind of corporate interference that helped sink the Copenhagen conference in December (Bolivia’s Supreme Court having not yet decided that corporations are people).Copenhagen was marked by a focus on power politics, not science. Though 117 nations endorsed the 350 ppm co2 target that researchers say is necessary to ward off the very worst effects of climate change, they were the wrong 117–the poor nations, the most vulnerable nations. The real addicts–led by the U.S.–simply weren’t ready to come to terms with their need to dramatically cut emissions, and so the session ended with a whimper, the so-called Copenhagen Accord which promises nothing, enforces nothing, accomplishes nothing.
The failure of those talks does nothing to slow down the progress of climate change, of course. This is a fight between human beings on the one hand, and physics and chemistry on the other–and physics and chemistry don’t really bargain. So glaciers like Bolivia’s Chacaltaya continue to disappear, and Arctic ice to melt, and seawater to acidify. We don’t have all the time in the world–we don’t, in fact, have a moment to spare.
Thank heaven, then, for the nations like Bolivia willing to work alongside civil society (instead of lock normal people out of the hall, as the UN did in Copenhagen). In fact, “work” is the key word for this year. At 350.org, we’re organizing a huge Global Work Party for October 10 (10/10/10!). All over the world, thousands of communities will be putting up solar panels and insulating homes and doing the other things we must do to deal with climate change. Our message is not that we can solve global warming one nice project at a time–we can’t. Instead, our message is: if we can get to work, so can our lawmakers. If we can climb up on the roof and install solar panels, the U.S. Senate can do what it’s supposed to do, and the UN General Assembly, and everyone else who needs to actually get to work.
That process begins in April in Bolivia. The world’s leaders haven’t led, so we’re going to have to lead for them. It’s going to be a fight, and it’s on now.
Bill McKibben is founder of 350.org and author of the first book about global warming, 1989’s The End of Nature.