Climate NGOs want India to reject Copenhagen Accord

In a statement here on Wednesday, Climate Action Network - South Asia (CANSA) said it was "extremely concerned that some governments in Asia have either already associated with the Copenhagen Accord or will do so in due course of time".

The network of 60 organisations -- which includes NGOs such as Centre for Science and Environment, The Energy and Resources Institute, Greenpeace, WWF and ActionAid -- called upon "all governments of South Asia that have associated with the Copenhagen Accord to reconsider their position and urges those that have not yet done so to reject the accord".

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh announced on Sunday that India supported the accord. CANSA director Sanjay Vashisht said the accord was "extremely weak". "It is not a legally binding treaty. Further, there was fierce opposition to its adoption because it was negotiated by a small group of countries from among the 192 that are parties to UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change), losing legitimacy."

Vashisht said "showcasing the accord as the only way forward from 2010 is an effort by the global North to divert attention from its legally binding responsibility of greenhouse gas emission reductions". Greenhouse gas emissions are leading to climate change, which is already affecting farm output, making droughts, floods and storms more frequent and more severe and raising the sea level.

CANSA said it wants the governments of South Asia to reject the accord because "the emission reductions of developed countries that have been put on the table amount, at best, to an aggregate of around 15 percent below 1990 levels by 2020". "If one were to account for the loopholes that are present in the system, such low targets could easily lead to a rise of developed country emissions by around 2020.”

Vashisht described the money offered by rich nations to poor countries to cope with climate change effects as a "paltry $30 billion much of which is going to be money for aid that will be repackaged as climate compensation".

"On long term funding, an aspiration to reach $100 billion a year by 2020 is expressed. However, apart from being grossly inadequate, this is a fudge since it is not known how much of this money would be in the form of public finance and additional to existing development finance flows."

Another CANSA member, Srinivas Krishnaswamy of Vasudha, said: “According to the mitigation ambition expressed in the Copenhagen Accord, we are heading for a 4 degrees Celsius rise in temperatures and the disappearance of almost all island states.

"In addition, this level of ambition will mean that most parts of Africa and perhaps even Asia, including South Asia, will experience large scale hunger and destruction of livelihoods and resultant social conflict and political turmoil.”

Raman Mehta of ActionAid India added: “Any gains that the rich countries have been able to garner are only short term and narrow, for what we may lose because of this accord is the planet itself. Before the planet is destroyed however, the price of this accord will be paid by the poor, especially in South Asia.”

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