Big News from
posted by MARK HERTSGAARD
on 12/11/2009 @ 1:32pm
Big news from
In a day of major developments, the
Meanwhile, activists prepared for a worldwide day of demonstrations on Saturday that organizer Bill McKibben of 350.org said were "explicitly endorsing" the AOSIS proposal and would involve "millions of people" and 3,000 actions around the world.
"We are not backing 350 because it's a beautiful number," said diplomat Antonio Lima of Cape Verde, the vice president of AOSIS, referring to the alliance's call to reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million from today's 389. "No, it is because of science," he added. "Some of our members will disappear [beneath rising seas] if we go above 1.5 C."
The rich-poor divide also reared its head on the all- important question of who will pay the bill for climate change.
Todd Stern, the Obama administration's chief climate negotiator, said Thursday that he "categorically reject[s]" the suggestion that rich industrial countries owe compensation to the victims of climate change. Stern acknowledged that the emissions of rich nations over the past two hundred years of industrialization had caused global warming, telling a press conference, "We absolutely recognize our historic role in putting emissions in the atmosphere." But, Stern added, "the sense of guilt or culpability or reparations--I just categorically reject that."
Stern's statement put him at odds not only with international law but with
"We have talked about $100 billion a year," ambassador
"Worst of all, this money is not even new," Tim Gore, the climate adviser to Oxfam EU, told the BBC. "It's made up of a recycling of past promises and payments that have already been made."
The emissions reductions included in the AOSIS proposal go far beyond what is currently on the table in
Noting that Pachauri, NASA scientist James Hansen and other experts have endorsed reducing carbon dioxide levels to 350 parts per million as soon as possible, McKibben hailed the AOSIS proposal as "the first truly rational attempt to grapple with what the science of climate change tells us."
Thus the stage is set for a showdown in
"If we leave Copenhagen without a legally binding outcome and without very strong commitment on finance, how can we go in front of our children and tell them, We couldn't reach [an agreement]," ambassador Lima told a roomful of young activists holding signs saying, "We stand with AOSIS." That's why we need the support of you, the youth," he continued, "because you are the ones who are going to suffer if we don't have a good result. And sometimes your governments will hear you when they do not hear us."
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs