CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE COPENHAGEN AGENDA
THE HUMAN RIGHT OF PEOPLES TO A CLEAN AND SAFE ENVIRONMENT
The Bureau of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, meeting in London the 28th and 29th November 2009,
Gravely concerned that climate change poses the most serious threat to the survival of peoples and the very existence of several nations around the globe, notably small island states, while undermining their efforts to achieve sustainable development goals;
Alarmed that emerging scientific evidence shows that the effects of human-induced climate change are worse than previously projected and that the impacts of climate change such as sea level rise, more frequent and extreme weather events, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, coastal erosion, and changing precipitation patterns, will further intensify;
Greatly disturbed that despite the mitigation commitments made by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol, especially those of the developed countries, global emissions continue to increase, leading to rapidly accelerating impacts, accompanied by costs and burdens that are beyond the ability of many, especially the developing states and other particularly vulnerable countries, to control;
Profoundly disappointed by the slow pace and apparent lack of ambition within the international climate change negotiations to protect particularly vulnerable countries, their peoples, culture, land and ecosystems from the impacts of climate change;
1. We call upon the international community, and especially developed countries, to undertake urgent, ambitious and decisive action to significantly reduce emissions of all green house gases (GHG) and to support particularly vulnerable countries in their efforts to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, including through the provision of increased levels of financial and technological resources;
2. We underscore that adaptation must be an urgent and immediate global priority;
3. We firmly maintain that the UNFCCC is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change;
4. We reaffirm the principles enshrined in the Rio Declaration and the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, in particular, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities having regard to national circumstances and the precautionary principle;
5. We urge all Parties to work with an increased sense of urgency and purpose towards an ambitious, comprehensive and meaningful outcome that preserves the legal nature of the international climate change regime and the existing commitments under the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol;
6. We assert that the outcome to be concluded at the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen in 2009 should inter alia:
a. Use the avoidance of adverse climate change impacts on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) as one of the key benchmarks for assessing its appropriateness, consistent with the precautionary principle and the principle of prevention;
b. Adopt a package of mitigation activities now, up to, and beyond 2012 that provides for:
- long-term stabilization of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at well below 350ppm CO2-equivalent levels;
- global average surface temperature increases to be limited to well below 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels;
- global greenhouse gas emissions to peak by 2015 and decline thereafter;
- reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions by more than 85% below 1990 levels by 2050;
- Annex I parties to the UNFCCC to reduce their collective GHG emissions by more than 45% below 1990 levels by 2020, and more than 95% below 1990 levels by 2050, given their historical responsibility;
- a significant deviation from business as usual by developing countries through measurable, reportable and verifiable nationally appropriate mitigation actions in the context of sustainable development, supported and enabled by technology, financing and capacity-building, in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner.
c. Provide SIDS with new, additional, predictable, transparent and adequate sources of grant-based financing to fully meet the adaptation needs of these particularly vulnerable countries, and ensure for SIDS that access is timely, direct, prioritized and simplified;
d. Call for an urgent and significant scaling up of the provision of financial resources and investment that is adequate, predictable and sustainable to support action on mitigation in developing country Parties for the enhanced implementation of national mitigation strategies; including positive incentives, the mobilization of public- and private-sector funding and investment and facilitation of carbon-friendly investment choices;
e. Ensure that renewable energy and energy efficiency form essential pillars of future mitigation actions by all countries, taking into account national circumstances;
f. Establish a mechanism to address loss and damage from climate change comprising a disaster risk component, insurance, and compensation funds, to help SIDS manage the financial and economic risks arising from climate impacts; to assist in the rapid recovery and rehabilitation from climate related extreme weather events and to address unavoidable damage and loss associated with the adverse effects of climate change;
g. Provide support to SIDS to enhance their capacities to respond to the challenges brought on by climate change and to access the technologies that will be required to undertake needed mitigation actions and to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, noting the obligations of Annex 1 countries under the UNFCCC in this regard;
7. We emphasize the urgent need to consider and address the human dimensions and global security implications of climate change including, where necessary, initiatives for preparing communities for relocation.
8. We underscore that while SIDS and other developing countries contribute the least to global emissions and have limited human, financial and technical resources, they suffer disproportionately from the effects of global warming.
9. We also recognize the need to reinforce the UNFCCC process by calling on the big emitters to agree to produce enough clean energy to attain the targets of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius and 350 parts per million of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.
10. Finally, we express our support for the leadership role played by the Member States of AOSIS, in emphasizing the urgency of progress towards a fair and meaningful outcome of the Copenhagen summit which, through safeguarding the most vulnerable countries, must ensure a truly shared and sustainable global vision for our present and future generations.