Wednesday, 09 December 2009

Leaked Proposal Prompts Furor In Copenhagen

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A secret draft agreement being called the “Danish Text” has sparked an uproar among various groups at the United Nations COP15 climate change summit in Copenhagen after being leaked on the afternoon of December 8 by the British Guardian newspaper.

The controversial draft proposal was reportedly prepared by a group known as “the circle of commitment” composed of at least the U.K., Denmark, and the U.S., though other national governments were likely involved as well. It included very few actual percentages and figures, which were to be negotiated during the coming days. But delegates from poor countries, environmental organizations, and opponents of global taxation all criticized the proposal, albeit for different reasons.

"The Danes holding secret backroom meetings with a few select countries is also deeply disappointing — the world expects the host country to be neutral,” said Andy Atkins, executive director for environmental group Friends of the Earth. “Instead, we have Denmark colluding with other rich nations to stitch up the talks." Countless other green groups denounced the document as well.

One of the issues highlighted by critics of the proposal is the change in power dynamics. The agreement would seemingly hand more control over the climate change money mechanism to rich countries. This would be accomplished via the World Bank — where votes are based on contributions — with a diminished role for the U.N., which operated the Kyoto treaty that is set to expire and shares power equally among member states.

Under Kyoto, poorer countries were under no obligation to cut or even rein in emissions, but if the Danish text were adopted, that would change. Obviously, poor countries did not all appreciate the idea of keeping their people in perpetual poverty. Another concern raised by outraged summit participants was the notion that by 2050, people in “developed” countries would still be able to emit twice the amount of per capita carbon dioxide as those in “developing” nations.  

Sudanese delegate Lumumba Stanislas, on behalf of the Group of 77 poor countries, called the draft text a "serious violation that threatens the success of the Copenhagen negotiating process." In addition to criticizing the mere $10 billion offered to developing nations, he noted that “we will not sign an unequitable deal. We can't accept a deal that condemns 80 percent of the world population to further suffering and injustice."

Other critics attacked the proposed methods of raising more money for the emerging world government. Wealth obtained by extorting air travel and shipping will go into a global fund for distribution to “multilateral institutions” or national governments in an effort to battle a changing climate (which, for the record, has always been changing.) The text notes that "parties commit to global financing contributions from international aviation and international maritime transport," but also highlights several times that the taxation schemes should be based on "the principle of common but differentiated responsibility."

Of course, the targeted industries were not content with the proposal to raise money at their expense. “If governments introduce new policies to raise adaptation funds, such policies must be applied globally across the board to all economic sectors,” a spokesman for the International Air Transport Association told “We are strongly opposed to any one sector being singled out to fund adaptation measures." He also called the impositions on the aviation industry “counterproductive,” noting that the plans would hurt trade and tourism while undermining the ability to invest in better technology.

But despite the media reports of “disarray” and “scandal” at the conference, some summit participants tried to calm the furor and downplayed the leaked document. Denmark’s Climate Ministry noted that it was just one draft among many, and that it was nowhere near the final product. Meanwhile, the UN’s climate chief also attempted to minimize the impression of chaos through a press release.

Some European officials brushed the leaked proposal aside as well. "It has no validity," European Union negotiator Artur Runge-Metzger said of the leaked proposal. "It's only a piece of paper. The only texts that have validity here are those which people negotiated." Another European official told the AFP that: "It caused an upset, but we hope the dust is going to settle and we can get down to business." But, he also acknowledged that it has “caused a lot of anger among developing countries who fear they are not being included in the informal process."

The leaked document raises other significant issues as well, and the fact that some of these ideas are even being considered should be ringing alarm bells for people who care about freedom, prosperity, and national sovereignty. A few highlights from the text:

“The Parties note that the largest share of historical global emissions of greenhouse gases originates in developed countries,” reads document, for which they obviously must face climate justice and send wealth to third-world dictators. “Gender equality is essential in achieving sustainable development,” it points out.

The parties also “commit to take action to mitigate climate change based on their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities,” while strengthening the international architecture for wealth redistribution. Some carbon emission sins can be remedied through the “purchase of international offset credits,” which “will play a supplementary role to domestic action.” 

“An effective mitigation response requires a well functioning carbon market,” explained the Danish text. “Targeted cash transfers and other appropriate mechanisms” will have to be implemented as well. “In addition, the Parties commit to work towards adopting domestic policies aiming at payment for actual consumption of energy.”

Signatories would also pledge to incorporate “low-emissions development” in their “national planning.” To begin with, at least $10 billion per year will be handed from rich countries to poor ones. And to top it off, nations must submit to global inspections: “The Parties commit to robust measurement, reporting and verification of the commitments undertaken in this Agreement.”

The proposals presented in the leaked draft are dangerous and terrible solutions to a non-existent problem. People the world over must work to ensure that a tyrannical world government does not ride to power based on fraudulent science (See Climategate). While these hypocritical climate dignitaries ride around in private jets and limousines paid for by taxpayers, people across the world will become even poorer if any of these treaties are ever ratified. A global government — with the ability to finance itself — could send humanity back to the dark ages. So it must be prevented.

Photo: AP Images

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