Chair of G-77 Ambassador Lumumba's Speech | Centre for Science and Environment

Chair of G-77 Ambassador Lumumba's Speech

October 08, 2009, Bangkok | IST: 04:30p.m
We represent 80% of the population of the world and our citizens are suffering day in and day out the consequences of climate change. We will do our best to persuade developed country’s government, civil society and business to do the right thing. I do believe that they will. I do believe that ultimately, if not this admin, the next admin; if not Gordon Brown, the next Prime Minister.

Can we wait until December 18th to get the strong political signals from top world leaders that people say we need to have a successful outcome at Copenhagen?

We should not. We hope not to. But if that is the game that is being played then it is a very irresponsible game because this deal- this Copenhagen, addressing the issue of climate change should have been done yesterday, not some time in the future. If not now, then when? The challenge now, and I would say to many of the political leaders in the West, starting with Milliband you are the one to direct your negotiators here to deliver unless you think you are not the leader of your country or you are a general whose troops here do not represent your will.

What do you think will come off tomorrow? What sort of final text will come out tomorrow?

This is not about text. By the way many people, including the press are talking about 200 pages being a difficult text. Do you know how long the stimulus text was? It was over 1000 pages. This is not about text. It is about strategic intent bending and converging and discarding the Kyoto Protocol and all its instruments.

"Let me tell you a story about the Europeans. It’s called Divide and Rule.

The British and the French amongst you probably have manuals on divide and rule.

The truth about Saudi Arabia- it is a committed member of the G77 fighting for a particular perspective which many developing countries, in fact all developing countries have accepted.

And that is the question of economic adaptation and response measures. The climate change has two sides to it - the deterioration, the environmental side and the second is the economic side to it. Let me give you an example- Katrina in the US was an economic catastrophe of the magnitude of 30+ billion dollars.

So the notion that Saudi Arabia, Africa, LDCs, this or that are being difficult is not true. If that’s the case we could have been the first people to push Saudi Arabia to accept the principles under which G77 member states have been operational since 1964- that no country, whether it is China, Chad or Cuba would prevail over us or deny us.

What is true is that many countries, in fact all developed countries… are discarding Kyoto Protocol. They have to spin a story to sell others their story."

"We are working very hard to get to a successful conclusion of Copenhagen. And we do believe that nothing is very difficult, if developed countries try not to…challenge but try to have a successful outcome.

G77 has put forward concrete proposals in every single aspect of the negotiations to (make) KP (work)… At the heart of our proposal, the very simple fact that the UNFCCC, the foundation of the international agreement - for Kyoto Protocol is the most important instrument in the commitments for the Annexe I countries, that is, the developed countries.

The most essential (part) of the KP is that it is an international, legally binding treaty with certified emission reductions from developed countries with specific figures per country. We equally think that one of the critical elements with regard to KP is the issue of the certain commitment…and that is at the heart of the difficulties that have (come up).

Now we are nearing 2012 and we haven’t seen much progress from Annexe I countries. So the emission reduction figures of developed countries are still far below what the official position requires."

"We do believe that it’s an issue that developed countries need to act on because radical emission reductions are the only way and I stress that radical reductions in emissions, targets by developed countries are the only way to address the issue of climate change.

In addition to this, we do believe that an attempt to replace the KP with a new framework would be counterproductive.

What needs to happen is that those who are committed- the EU, Australia, Japan, the rest of the developed countries, need to rise up to the challenge rather than race to the bottom with the US…This mindset that thinks that the only way to achieve success is to wait more time or to rephrase the legal agreement in order to be ratified, can be given much longer time rather than reach firm commitments in Copenhagen.

Finally, we do believe that developed countries need to accept that economic development, in fact economic and sustainable development is part and parcel of the equation. And this is a matter of equity: A question of prosperity."

"You need to balance and accept as part of the deal, the plight of developing countries and the issue of economic development in order to improve the quality of life in the future.

We do not believe that a green economy, a global green economy or even the term often used- a carbon free economy, should be built at the cost of billions of lives of people from developing countries.

We do believe that it is of key (importance) to do all this and to do what is necessary, to come up with the money necessary.

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Uthra Radhakrishnan
Tel: +91 11 29955124