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Cablegate: Copenhagen Readout: Colombia Looks to Consolidate Leadership

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R 082251Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1991
INFO ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ EPA WASHINGTON DC
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RUEHC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BOGOTA 000098

SIPDIS
PASS TO OES, IO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAGR PREL ENRG ECON EAID CO
SUBJECT: COPENHAGEN READOUT: COLOMBIA LOOKS TO CONSOLIDATE LEADERSHIP
ROLE

REF: 09 BOGOTA 3303; 09 BOGOTA 3511; 09 BOGOTA 3489

1. (SBU) Summary. Environment Minister Carlos Costa
discussed the results of the Copenhagen summit with EconCouns and
ESTH officer on January 6. Costa noted the difficult nature of
the negotiations, faulting the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas
(ALBA) countries and Sudan for blocking progress. He raised the
importance of coming up with a "Plan B" for talks in Mexico City in
December if an agreement cannot be reached with those countries,
which could entail dropping them from the agreement. He also
stressed that it is important to show results from Copenhagen in
the form of solid financial commitments before Mexico in order for
the process to gain credibility. In preparation for the Mexico
City talks, Costa said Colombia plans to strengthen the
"Like-Minded Latins" group and look for more allies within the
G-77. Costa reiterated his invitation to the U.S. negotiating team
to visit Colombia to become familiar with forestry issues here.
End Summary.

U.S. IMAGE IMPROVED AT COPENHAGEN

--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (SBU) Environment Minister Costa credited President Obama
and Secretary Clinton with changing the perception of the U.S. as a
country unwilling to take steps against climate change, saying that
he felt the U.S. image was bolstered by their actions at
Copenhagen. Costa also mentioned China's massive public relations
campaign, noting the Chinese Ambassador to Colombia visited his
office the day after Copenhagen ended to defend its position.

OBSTRUCTIVE COUNTRIES SPOILED CHANCES FOR AN AGREEMENT

--------------------------------------------- ----------------------
------------------------

3. (SBU) Costa was critical of several countries' actions at
Copenhagen, including Brazil for only defending its own interests
during the talks. He charged that Brazil was complacent and
unproductive during the talks as it already had a deforestation
deal with Norway. He expressed no surprise at the
uncooperativeness of ALBA countries and Sudan, whose "ridiculous
rhetoric" comparing the results of the conference to genocide
brought down the level of discourse. Costa highlighted the
difference between the views of the leadership of the G-77 and the
actual position of many countries within the group. He suggested
there be a Plan B for the next summit that could exclude those
obstructionist countries if necessary.

ADMINISTRATIVE PROBLEMS HINDERED PROCESS AT COPENHAGEN

--------------------------------------------- ----------------------
---------------

4. (SBU) Costa was critical of the Danish hosts, explaining

BOGOTA 00000098 002 OF 002


that their credibility was damaged by the perception that they were
autocratic, inflexible and non-transparent. He also believed the
Presidency and Secretary of the COP were weak and relied too much
on the chairs of working groups to achieve consensus. Costa noted
that after the heads of state arrived, the general perception
amongst countries not included in the final leaders' meeting was
that the conference lacked transparency.

FUTURE STEPS FOR COLOMBIA

---------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Costa noted there is a plurality of views within
the G-77 and said he hoped to strengthen Colombia's position within
the group by cultivating more like-minded allies. He also hopes to
have several meetings of the "Like-Minded Latins" group to
consolidate its position before the next climate change conference
in Mexico City in December. Costa was pleased that Colombia -- a
middle income country that is not an island and is a low emitter of
carbon -- was selected to represent this group of countries. Costa
was also pleased that Colombia was included in the pre-COP and the
final small group negotiations at the end of the talks.

6. (SBU) Costa believes it will be important to produce
concrete results before the Mexico City summit in order to bring
credibility to the process, including disbursement of financial
commitments. Costa was pleased at the creation of a deforestation
fund of USD 3.5 million and suggested Colombia host a pilot
program, stating that money invested in Colombia's forestry
programs "would not be money wasted". He reiterated his invitation
to the U.S. climate negotiators to visit Colombia to see first-hand
Colombia's forestry programs and the challenges they face.

7. (SBU) Comment: Colombia seeks to continue its leadership
role on climate change matters in the region and within the G-77.
While the GOC wanted a stronger agreement at Copenhagen (see
reftels), it sees the accord as a step forward. Colombia is a
strong ally on climate change and we should continue to deepen our
engagement with Colombia to advance our common goals at the Mexico
City talks. End Comment.
BROWNFIELD

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