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US sees diminished role for UN in climate talks

The Guardian UK reports that, “America sees a diminished role for the United Nations in trying to stop global warming after the ‘chaotic’ Copenhagen climate change summit, an Obama administration official said (this week).”

“Jonathan Pershing, who helped lead talks at Copenhagen, instead sketched out a future path for negotiations dominated by the world’s largest polluters such as China, the US, India, Brazil and South Africa, who signed up to a deal in the final hours of the summit. That would represent a realignment of the way the international community has dealt with climate change over the last two decades.”

“The lack of confidence in the UN extends to the $30 billion global fund, which will be mobilised over the next three years to help poor countries adapt to climate change. …Pershing said. ‘I am not sure that any of us are particularly confident that the UN managing the near-term financing is the right way to go.'”

“The first test of the accord agreed by America, China, India, South Africa and Brazil arrives on 31 January, the deadline for countries to commit officially to actions to halt global warming.”

“There is confusion over the legal standing of the agreement reached in Copenhagen and many countries may not be in a position to sign up by 31 January because they have yet to consult their parliaments.”

Presumably this also applies to Canada given Parliament has been prorogued until March 3.

“As the dust settles on the stormy Danish meeting, environment ministers from the so-called Basic countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – will meet on 24 January in New Delhi. No formal agenda has been set, but observers expect the emerging geopolitical alliance between the four large developing countries who brokered the final ‘deal’ with the US in Denmark will define a common position on emission reductions and climate aid money, and seek ways to convince other countries to sign up to the Copenhagen accord that emerged last month.”

“Fewer than 30 countries out of the 192 who are signed up to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which organised Copenhagen, have indicated that they will sign. Many are known to be deeply unhappy with the $100bn pledged for climate aid and the decision not to make deeper cuts in emissions.”

“Meanwhile, Bolivia, one of a handful of poor countries which openly opposed the deal in Copenhagen, has invited countries and non-governmental groups which want a much stronger climate deal to the World Conference of the People on Climate Change. …The conference, to be held in Cochabamba in Bolivia from 20-22 April, is expected to attract heads of state from the loose alliance of socialist ‘Alba’ countries, including Venezuela and Cuba. Alba, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America countries, was set up to provide an alternative to the US-led free trade area of the Americas.”

Maria Souviron, the Bolivian ambassador in London, says, “The invitation is to heads of state but chiefly to civil society. We think that social movements and non government groups, people not at decision level, have an important role in climate talks.”

The Council of Canadians is currently exploring sending a delegation, including chairperson Maude Barlow, to the peoples summit in Bolivia.

The full article is at http://m.guardian.co.uk/?id=102202&story=http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/14/climate-talks-un-sidelined.