Magazine article Canadian Dimension

Why Bolivia Stood Alone in Opposing the Cancun Climate Agreement

Magazine article Canadian Dimension

Why Bolivia Stood Alone in Opposing the Cancun Climate Agreement

Article excerpt

DIPLOMACY IS TRADITIONALLY a game of alliance and compromise. Yet in the early hours of December ii, Bolivia found itself alone against the world: the only nation to oppose the outcome of the United Nations climate change summit in Cancun.

Many commentators have called the Cancun accord a "step in the right direction." We disagree: it is a giant step backward. The text replaces binding mechanisms for reducing greenhouse gas emissions with voluntary pledges that are wholly insufficient. These pledges contradict the stated goal of capping the rise in temperature at 2[degrees]C, instead guiding us to 4[degrees]C or more. The text is full of loopholes for polluters, opportunities for expanding carbon markets and similar mechanisms - like the forestry scheme Redd -that reduce the obligation of developed countries to act.

Bolivia may have been the only country to speak out against these failures, but several negotiators told us privately that they support us. Anyone who has seen the science on climate change knows that the Cancun agreement was irresponsible.

Some claim the best thing is to be realistic and recognise that at the very least the agreement saved the UN process age Canadian household - which is still much higher than the global average), land re-distribution, climate debt and the rights of ecological refugees and indigenous peoples, and the dismantling of the military -corporation complex from collapse. Unfortunately, a convenient realism has become all that powerful nations are willing to offer, while they ignore scientists' exhortations to act radically now. …

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