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Tuvalu Action in Copenhagen – What Does It Mean?

Tuvalu Action in Copenhagen – What Does It Mean?

Tuvalu is calling for a discussion on what form the final deal from Copenhagen will take. The small island state has put forward a proposal for a new protocol – in addition to the Kyoto Protocol – to include commitments from the US, as well as other issues such as adaptation and finance.

Tuvalu’s stance is being supported by sub-Saharan Africa and the small island states, which have made passionate and powerful statements about the catastrophic impact of climate change on their people. For many vulnerable countries, strong action on climate change is essential if they are to survive as cultures and countries.

Tuvalu’s call for a discussion on their proposal for a legally binding agreement was opposed by some big developing countries who were concerned that it would be used by rich countries to evade their commitments under the existing Kyoto Protocol. The Conference of the Parties was suspended while the Chair consulted.

This is the right time to have a discussion on the final form of the deal as many leaders from rich nations have been saying the talks in Copenhagen should not aim for a legally binding deal. This was starkly shown on Tuesday in the leaked draft proposal from the Danish presidency. Two years of negotiations have prepared the basis for agreement. The only obstacle to a legally binding agreement in Copenhagen is a lack of political will from the rich nations.

Barry Coates, Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand, said:

“Tuvalu has taken a strong stand to put the focus back on their bottom line – there must be a strong and legally binding outcome from Copenhagen. Nothing else will deliver the commitments to urgent action that are needed to avoid catastrophe, especially to the most vulnerable countries and people.”

“A fine sounding political declaration from Copenhagen without a legally binding outcome is like a shark without teeth. Millions of people worldwide are demanding a Real Deal from Copenhagen, not just empty words.”

“This is not about splits between developing countries. They all want the same thing – long term finance for poor countries and for rich nations to live up to their commitments to undertake deep emissions cuts under the Kyoto Protocol, along with binding commitments from the United States as the country that has not signed the Kyoto protocol.”

ENDS

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