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Cablegate: Ecuador's Position Towards the Upcoming Copenhagen Climate

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DE RUEHQT #1015/01 3362151
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 022151Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0492
INFO ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 QUITO 001015

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV KGHG ENRG ECON EC
SUBJECT: Ecuador's Position Towards the upcoming Copenhagen Climate
Change Negotiations

REF: QUITO 937

1. (SBU) Summary: The Ecuadorian Government will continue to
support G-77 positions related to climate change at the upcoming
COP-15 in Copenhagen. According to Ambassador Federico Meneses,
Director General for the Environment at the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Ecuador has placed adaptation to environmental change on
the same level as mitigation and intends to treat the two equally.
From a small developing country viewpoint, Meneses views adaptation
as being much more important than mitigation. In Copenhagen, the
GoE will encourage a voluntary and transparent transfer of
technology from Annex I countries, as well as the creation of a
sustainable financing mechanism to address adaptation and other
needs in the developing world. Although Ecuador intends to promote
its Yasuni-ITT project (ref A) in Copenhagen, the GoE does not
expect serious support to materialize. End Summary.

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Adaptation as Important as Mitigation

2. (SBU) Econoff met with Ambassador Federico Meneses, the
Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Director General for
the Environment, on November 23 to discuss Ecuador's positions at
the upcoming Convention of the Parties-15 ( COP-15) to the UN
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations in
Copenhagen. According to Meneses, the Government of Ecuador (GoE)
will continue largely to support the G-77/China positions that have
been laid out in the meetings leading up to Copenhagen. Ecuador
supports emissions reductions by developed countries of 40% below
1990 levels by 2020 and 95% below 1990 levels by 2040. The GoE
sees emission targets for small developing countries as of little
use, and will not support small country targets. Meneses noted
that Ecuador, a small polluter currently and historically, will
treat adaptation and mitigation as equally important.
Realistically, adaptation is more important to Ecuador itself. The
reality of climate change will affect Ecuador long before any of
Ecuador's conservation measures make any difference to global
climate change.

3. (SBU) With a focus on what Ecuador needs in order to adapt
to ongoing and expected climate change, Meneses said the most
important outcome from Copenhagen would be an agreement on the
transparent, verifiable, and voluntary transfer of green technology
from the developed world to assist developing countries' adaptation
(and mitigation) efforts. Also crucial is a long-term and
sustainable funding source to help underwrite technology transfer
and other necessary actions by countries in the developing world.
Meneses criticized the current Global Environmental Facility (GEF)
as being too complex, unrealistic, and not delivering assistance
where it was needed. (Ecuador is receiving funds from the GEF for
two projects at the moment, a regional program with Bolivia and
Peru focused on glacier retreat, and another dealing with coastal
adaptation to climate change.)

Doing Our Bit

4. (SBU) Meneses did not totally ignore Ecuador's mitigation
efforts, pointing out initiatives such as the USAID-supported Socio
Bosque program, which seeks to protect existing forest and reforest
denuded land, a similar program to protect the high-altitude
paramo, a move to generate 100% of the Galapagos Islands energy
needs from renewable sources, and, of course, the Yasuni-ITT
initiative (ref A). Meneses hopes that one of the Yasuni
initiative's main constraints - that it is not Kyoto compliant -
might be at least partially overcome if the Copenhagen conference
agrees on a mechanism allowing carbon credits for protecting
forests. Meneses described the Yasuni-ITT initiative as a small
country's attempt to make a difference in slowing climate change
and in protecting a mega-diverse area. A number of contacts in the
Ministry for the Environment, including the Director General for
Climate Change, Carolina Zambrano, have low expectations for
Yasuni-ITT at Copenhagen, noting that it will be mentioned but not
emphasized by the delegation.

5. (SBU) Although Meneses expressed understanding for the

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limits placed on U.S. negotiators by domestic political realities,
he stressed the need for the U.S. to take a leadership role in
pushing for a successful outcome to climate change negotiations.
While the GoE does not expect a comprehensive agreement from
Copenhagen, it hopes for solid progress. Meneses cautioned that
there was likely to be a divide between his assessment of Ecuador's
position, which included references to Ecuador's own difficulties
in dealing with pollution and climate change, and the rhetoric of
President Correa, which had a more political thrust.

Comment

6. (SBU) Ecuador is strengthening its internal support for
managing climate change. On December 1 the Undersecretariat for
Climate Change was created within the Ministry of the Environment,
which is tasked with the lead on all national and international
policy on climate change. For Copenhagen, Ecuador will likely let
the G-77 lead, and focus GoE efforts on exploring the possibility
of coordinating the Yasuni-ITT initiative with future UN REDD
(Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in
Developing Countries) developments and supporting the development
of financing for REDD projects.
HODGES

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