The claim that the G77+China grouping represents the interests of all developing countries gives the bloc its negotiating power, but is also, of course, a fiction. Many smaller, poorer and lower countries, the ones most directly threatened by climate change, have little time for arguments about historic responsibility, or for some countries to continue unsustainable levels of emissions in the name of development. The atmosphere does not discriminate between different sources – all contribute equally to sea level rise.
So it was not entirely surprising to see members of the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS), particularly Tuvalu, break ranks yesterday with the larger members of the G77+China bloc. They, along with some African nations, expressed their frustration with the continued insistence, from all quarters, that a strong, legally-binding deal cannot be reached here in Copenhagen. They want a deal now, they want it to be more ambitious than Kyoto and they want it to have internationally-binding legal measures built in to discourage cheaters. They certainly have no time for the old G77 argument that Kyoto cannot be renegotiated. Unfortunately, their pleas, at this meeting, are unlikely to result in a change of heart from their fellow non-Annex 1 states.
Ian Fry of the Tuvalu delegation is a consistently hard-working and innovative negotiator who lobbies tirelessly for the interests of his adopted country. Small states like Tuvalu, which can draw on a population of only 110,000, have a limited pool of scientific and negotiating expertise and thus benefit from casting their net as wide as possible to find those, such as Mr Fry, who will steadfastly represent their interests.
Several other parties from the Asia Pacific region have demonstrated their commitment to the pursuit of a robust deal at Copenhagen by broadening the pool of expertise in their delegations. Kenn Mondiai of EFF (see previous entry) has been invited to be part of the PNG delegation, to bring a civil society viewpoint. Lao PDR have included four international experts, including two advisors specifically focused on REDD+. Unlike last year, Viet Nam’s delegation includes the national REDD focal point and other senior figures from the Department of Forestry. These are all indications that Asia Pacific countries are deadly serious about the need to reach a solid, equitable deal for the people of the region.
Posted by Ben Vickers