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Ear to the Ground

Climate Negotiators Gear Up for Another Round of Bullying

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Posted on Nov 27, 2011
Oxfam International (CC-BY)

Activists with the international poverty and injustice opposition group Oxfam illustrate the dangers facing some low-lying, poor countries as global warming accelerates.

The next round of international climate negotiations begins in South Africa on Monday, and a report by the World Development Movement forecasts that rich countries are set to continue using the same coercive tactics that marred previous talks: tying aid money for developing countries to watered-down deals.

A handful of the wealthiest countries met behind closed doors to write up the Copenhagen Accord in the final hours of the conference in Denmark two years ago. The developed nations simply didn’t offer much in Cancun last year, but the so-called rescuing of the U.N. process from collapse was lauded as a meaningful victory in the effort to address climate change.

I attended both conferences as a journalist. On the first day of the Cancun talks, a leader of a small negotiating bloc, the Alliance of Small Island States, confided in me that her first concern was to say nothing that the leaders of larger blocs might interpret as aggressive. In Durban this week too, the big bullies are likely to have their way. —ARK

The Independent:

Murray Worthy, of the World Development Movement, said: “The US, UK and EU are using the same strong-arm tactics to bribe developing countries that we saw at Copenhagen. Abandoning their previous commitments to provide finance to help developing countries deal with climate change, they are now saying finance will only be available to countries that agree to a new deal that effectively abandons the Kyoto treaty.”

The report accuses countries such as America and Britain of using “unfair, undemocratic and even deceitful means to skew the climate change negotiations in their favour”.

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