What’s that word again…?

by Anna Odell

The following statement was delivered during an [Earth in Brackets] press conference on Wednesday, November 28th.

The word equity is mentioned a lot within the UNFCCC, and today I would like to expand upon what equity actually looks like and what negotiations must deliver for there to be an equitable outcome in Doha.

Equity is the only road to ambition, and the climate legacy that must be shaped if we have any hope in solving this global crisis.

Currently, what equity there is within these halls is being consistently eroded and undermined throughout these negotiations. The negotiations in Doha are not simply a battle about the future of the climate, this is a battle over the status quo, privilege, and hegemony throughout the world. This is a battle of economic and historical privilege that developed countries have abused for centuries, while taking up stolen atmospheric space.


While developed countries are refusing to allow a shift of the status quo, they are attempting to break down the firewall between annex one and non annex one countries and force the developing world and major economies, with no historic responsibility, to take on emission reduction commitments. To put it simply, developed countries do not want to provide the space for emerging economies and new competition, and are refusing to fulfill their moral and historical obligation to allow the right of sustainable development.

The requirements by the United States and others for “parallel” mitigations commitments for the developing world would halt their development and condemn the developing world to the ever increasing effects of climate change without offering them the means necessary to adapt. Developed countries are attempting to escape from their historical responsibilities and wipe the slate clean of their previous commitments: commitments to the principles of the convention, commitments to the Kyoto Protocol and its second commitment period, and commitments for the successful completion of the LCA.

It is this behavior that has driven us into a state of planetary emergency.

Simply having an outcome from Doha is not success. The objectives of the convention are clear: to halt catastrophic anthropogenic climate change. If they outcomes of Doha do not lead to the fulfillment of that objective (specifically, there is not a strong Kyoto Protocol second commitment period, the LCA is not closed successfully, and there are no clear steps forward on adaptation and finance) then Doha cannot be considered successful.

The ADP must not provide an opportunity for platform jumping nor stifle the work that still needs to be completed successfully in accordance with the outcome goals of the AWG-KP and the AWG-LCA. Both tracks of the Bali Action Plan must effectively achieve their outcomes. Operational mechanisms being built under the Bali Roadmap, specifically on adaptation, finance, and technology transfer must be operational, must be operational before the ADP outcome.

Platform jumping is unacceptable.

Developed countries fulfilling their commitments under finance, mitigation, and adaptation is not charity; It is their moral and legal obligation. Developed countries do not have the right to fulfill their commitments depending on developing country mitigation, and act as though they are heroes because they are considering to fulfill their commitments that they unconditionally owe the developing world.

While developed countries are calling upon the developing world to increase their mitigation targets, they have repeatedly failed to fulfill their finance commitments. For example, in fast-start finance $30 billion has been pledged, only approximate $25 billion has actually been committed, and a mere $11 billion has been delivered.

Meanwhile, adaptation assistance is grossly underfunded. Means of implementation, including capacity building, finance, technology transfer, are essential components of any outcome of Doha.

An ambitious, equitable second commitment period with science based, top-down rules under the Kyoto Protocol is essential. While some countries push for a pledge and review system, the science has shown the current pledges will lead us to a 4 degree world. While they are asking for developing countries to mitigate, the E.U is offering is only pledging an absurdly low 20% and Australia gives themselves a great big pat on the back for it's .5% bellow 1990s. The lack of ambition shown in these negotiations is obscene, as well as tragically expected. In order for us to avoid a terrifying 4 degree world, there has to be globally a 70% cut by 2020, of which 50% must come from developed countries.

Developed countries hypocrisy is intolerable. Without financial support, technology transfer, and capacity building there can be no expectation of developing country mitigation.

Finally, the severe lack of the sense of urgency and ambition is unacceptable. Climate change is here, its effects are being felt now, its effects have been felt for years. Equity is the only way forward.

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