La COP18 decepciona

20.12.2012

La 18ª Conferencia de las Partes en la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático (COP18) ha preparado su tediosa vía hacia su nada sorprendente conclusión con la adopción de un débil conjunto de decisiones conocidas como la ”Puerta del Clima de Doha”. Es el momento de evaluar esa Puerta y de determinar dónde estamos.

Cuando se asiste a reuniones de la COP, se tiene la sensación de visitar una realidad alternativa. Como un dilatador impenitente, la Puerta de Doha pospone las decisiones difíciles. La ciencia es clara, y el peligro, inminente, en contra de la impresión creada en los medios de información, particularmente en América del Norte. Entre 1991 y 2012 ha habido 13.950 artículos sobre el clima revisados por homólogos. De ellos, sólo 24 rechazan el calentamiento global.

Científicos del Grupo Intergubernamental de Expertos sobre el Cambio Climático nos informan de que con una  acción significativa en los próximos tres a seis años todavía se podría mantener el calentamiento global dentro de los dos grados centígrados por encima de los niveles preindustriales que se consideran manejables. Ahora bien, la diferencia entre la acción prometida actualmente y el nivel de ambición necesario para controlar la situación sigue creciendo. Si la acción se demora más allá del período 2015-2018, el futuro de nuestros hijos dependerá de tecnologías no demostradas o que aún no existen. Cuanto mayor sea la demora más difícil y onerosa, y peligrososa, será la tarea.

Un posible punto de acción en un futuro cercano es el próximo debate en la OIT sobre Empleos verdes y desarrollo sostenible previsto para junio de 2013, que puede ser el comienzo de un diálogo sobre una norma de la OIT o un instrumento sobre Transición justa.

En conclusión, hay dos peligros potenciales para el movimiento sindical. Uno, naturalmente, es que con la inacción no se evitará el catastrófico cambio climático.Los ricos se las apañarán bastante bien, sin duda, pero la clase trabajadora y los pobres del mundo serán los más afectados. La otra (que puede o no acompañar a la primera) es que los pueblos del mundo se despierten de repente ante el peligro y que, en su pánico, acepten cualesquiera medidas, por draconianas que sean, para ”arreglar” las cosas. En ese escenario, decenios de trabajo del movimiento sindical y de otras ONG con conciencia social para incorporar consideraciones de normas sociales, normas laborales, derechos humanos, empleos sostenibles, trabajo decente, y Transición justa en el debate sobre el medio ambiente se darán por perdidos, ante el pánico de hacer algo – cualquier cosa – para abordar la catástrofe que se avecina.

La razón de que la COP18 se recuerde como menos controvertida que, por ejemplo, la COP15 o la COP17, no es que haya realizado más, sino que las expectativas fueran tan bajas, para empezar. Es tentador decir que en los procesos de las COP nunca se alcanza el objetivo, pero es el único marco que existe para las negociaciones sobre el clima mundial, y para abandonarlo habría que crear otro. Y eso lleva tiempo, un tiempo que no nos podemos permitir. Como dijo Laura Martín Murillo, de SustainLabour, ”este foro también nos pertenece, como ciudadanos de este planeta, pertenece a los movimientos ecologiastas y de desarrollo y a los movimientos sindicales que han ayudado a crearlo”. Nos corresponde a todos los ciudadanos ejercer presión sobre los gobiernos para hacer lo correcto; y no sólo una vez al año, cuando se celebran las reuniones de la COP.

With little sign of ambition or commitment, here are a few of the highlights of the Doha Gateway.

 

Kyoto Protocol – The Kyoto Protocol, the only existing legal framework for the control of greenhouse gases, has been extended, but with weakened commitments for fewer nations. It was agreed to extend the agreement until the end of 2020, when the Durban Platform is supposed to come into effect. No new targets were adopted although there is supposed to be a “review” of targets in 2014. The Kyoto Protocol now covers only fifteen percent of global greenhouse gas emissions due to non-ratification and repudiation of the treaty. Countries with unused emissions credits from the first commitment period will be allowed to carry over 2.5 percent of their allocation to the second commitment period, and 2 percent of the proceeds of any sales of such units will be dedicated to assisting developing countries. Countries that are not under the Protocol may buy credits, but not sell or obtain credits. With these decisions, COP18 marked the effective end of further talks under the Kyoto Protocol.

Long-Term Cooperative Action – Originally intended to deal with future commitment periods of the Kyoto Accord, the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action has been superseded by discussions of the Durban Platform, and was wound up in Doha. It is important to note that it was at the AWG-LCA that labour had its best success in inserting language on social standards, greener jobs, and Just Transition. A reference to these concepts was repeated in the final report of the AWG-LCA. Parties have agreed that a Just Transition which will create decent work and good quality jobs in the transition towards a low emission and climate-resilient society, remains a goal. It remains to be seen whether we will have to fight to incorporate these concepts in the future discussions on the Durban Platform.

Durban Platform - The opposition by some developed countries, particularly the USA and Canada, to the Kyoto Accord resulted in the so-called Durban Platform for Enhanced Action being one of the key outcomes of last year's COP. This effective abandonment of the Kyoto Accord was viewed by many as a catastrophic failure. Optimists considered that the Durban Platform could evolve to become a new, legally-binding international treaty to control greenhouse gases, inclusive of countries that had resisted joining (or abandoned, as in the case of Canada) the Kyoto Protocol. Such optimism seems so far to be unfounded. Instead of significant progress towards the stated goal of a formal treaty by 2015 to take effect in 2020, all that COP18 managed to produce was a plan for a series of meetings to attempt to negotiate a text.

Loss and Damage – it is indicative of the lack of progress, that climate talks which commenced 20 years ago with discussions on the control or mitigation of greenhouse effects, and later changed to include discussions of adaptation to climate change, are now forced to acknowledge the reality of loss and damage. Countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Thailand, and several small island states are among those expected to suffer the heaviest loss of life and damage due to climate related weather events in coming years. Despite opposition from the USA and a few other developed countries, it was agreed in Doha that talks will commence in 2013 on the creation of a mechanism to address loss and damage in vulnerable countries.

Finance – Finance, particularly for developing countries, is one of the key barriers to action. Perhaps the most disappointing outcome of COP18 is the failure of developed countries to commit the necessary support for the Green Climate Fund and the short-term finance needs of developing countries (so-called quick start financing). Trade unions have repeatedly argued that the $100 billion (US) per year funding proposed for the global Green Climate Fund could be easily generated. The best and simplest option may be through a tiny financial transactions tax, which would have the additional benefit of helping to stabilize world currencies and thereby the global economy. Other options include: removing subsidies for fossil fuels; a carbon tax; incentives for green investment by pension funds and the like. Although it sounds like an enormous amount; to put $100 billion in perspective, the USA alone could divert this entire amount from its military budget and still have – by far – the largest military expenditures of any nation. Instead, the Green Climate Fund, first proposed at COP15, continues to be a mirage; a “fund” with no real money in it. Furthermore, the governance structure for the Fund seems designed to limit transparency and civil society input, creating opportunities for private-sector manipulation and corruption.