Industrialised nations must act: Bali mandate at stake

Friends of the Earth International today warned Ministers arriving at the UN climate talks in Bali that they have a huge task ahead at these talks if they are to be deemed a success.

Friends of the Earth International
Media Release
Wednesday 12th December 2007


BALI, 12 Dec: Friends of the Earth International today warned Ministers arriving at the UN climate talks in Bali that they have a huge task ahead at these talks if they are to be deemed a success.

Ministers must seriously reassess the consequences for the future viability of the post 2012 Kyoto commitment period if they fail to agree on key issues. Ministers must be prepared to shift on major issues, with agreement needed on a strong target range for Annex I reductions and commitments needed for resources to tackle climate change in the developing world, both in terms of adaptation and the means to build low carbon economies.

Progress in the talks has been hampered until now by the low level of commitment from key industrialised countries, which have failed to deliver on their existing obligations to pay for adaptation, technology co-operation and to support forest conservation in developing countries.

Friends of the Earth International Climate Campaign Coordinator Stephanie Long said: “We came to Bali with high expectations that industrialised countries would take the lead here and meet their historical obligations as outlined in the UN Convention and the Protocol. All we have seen so far are empty agreements that will not lead to adequate real action to deal with climate change. The Ministers must live up to their commitments - promising to deliver only if developing countries do more is unacceptable and cannot be justified.”

Friends of the Earth Australia climate justice coordinator Emma Brindal said "In the first week, the Australian negotiators backed out of their
support for the inclusion of the 25-40% emission reduction target for industrialised (Annex 1) countries. It is of paramount importance that the recently arrived Ministers show leadership in supporting the inclusion of these targets for Annex 1 countries in the final agreement".

Japan, Canada and the United States have deliberately set out to sabotage these talks, presenting proposals that are certain to fail, including removing all text on future Annex I emissions reductions. Some proposals, for example Canada’s insistence that developing countries take on legally binding emission reductions goals, have set out to provoke anger.

The United States has also openly declared that it will not support a multi-lateral technology transfer fund and appears to be trying to shift anything of substance out of the UNFCCC decisions into voluntary processes such as the ‘Major Emitters Meeting’.

Friends of the Earth International Chair Meena Raman said: “The rich countries are using their existing obligations as bargaining chips to push developing countries to discuss future emissions cuts. This is outraqeous. Wealthy nations – which have benefited most from pollution - must take the lead by first fulfilling their responsibilities. It is painfully clear that climate change is already affecting the most vulnerable communities in the developing world. This issue must be addressed if the Kyoto negotiations are to move forward in good faith.”

Friends of the Earth International believes that the following additional commitments are required to ensure a meaningful and genuine Bali Mandate to work towards the post 2012 agreement:

Technology Transfer
Talks on the technology transfer fund and facility have stalled with the USA, seemingly backed by the other Umbrella countries (Japan, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), opposing the establishment of a multi-lateral fund. This issue could be carried over to 2008 unless Ministers agree in principle to the fund and begin negotiating terms of reference for the mechanism.

Agreement was reached on the Protocol Adaptation Fund, with developing countries compromising and allowing the Global Environment Facility to at least temporarily manage this. This puts the onus on industrialised countries to ensure new sources of funding, other than the levy on the CDM, to dramatically increase the amount of money funneled into the Adaptation Fund, with the UNDP estimating 86 billion US dollars needed per year.

Agreement was reached on the workplan for continuing negotiations on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries. A glaring gap in the text is the absence of support for Indigenous Peoples' rights.

Forest protection programmes must uphold the land rights of Indigenous peoples and other local communities who often have the best understanding of how to conserve forest. This issue is complex and solutions cannot be rushed. Action can, however, be taken right away by building on existing mechanisms such as the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Emissions Reductions
Discussions on emissions reductions have been happening under the Ad-hoc Working Group under the Protocol, where Japan and Canada have been blocking by the inclusion of any targets. The latest science now demands that emissions reduction commitments of at least 40% on 1990 levels by 2020 for industralised countries. The Ministers must officially recognise the need to peak emissions globally within the next decade.

For more information and comments:

Stephanie Long, International Climate Coordinator + 62 (0) 813 3896 8812

Emma Brindal, Friends of the Earth Australia Climate Justice Coordinator
+62 (0) 813 3896 9931

Meena Raman, Friends of the Earth International Chairperson + 62 (0) 813
3896 9970 (Indonesian number valid until Dec. 14 only)

Niccolo Sarno, Friends of the Earth International Media Coordinator
+62-813-389-69973 (Indonesian number valid until Dec. 14 only)

Helen Burley, Friends of the Earth International Media Officer
+62-813-389-69937 (Indonesian number valid until Dec. 14 only)