28/6/2013: CAN Latin America finds it is time for Latin American countries to contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions.
Climate Action Network Latin American (CANLA) met in Lima recently. It was a good opportunity to exchange experiences on the work each of the member organizations have been promoting in the region.
The meeting was also conducive to review what we have been building as a network, and think about what we should keep on doing, especially now that the climate crisis is showing new signs of warning and worldwide concern about the common future of our specie is increasing.
New direction towards joint responsibility
At the Lima meeting we decided to invite the countries that slowly have been overcoming their poverty levels, to start considering the need for mitigation plans for their carbon emissions. It was concluded that these countries should not stick to the failed Kyoto effort that relieves them from taking responsibility. It is time to rethink the out-dated scheme of categorizations of countries according to which some must mitigate their emissions because they are rich, and others not, because they are poor.
CANLA has now questioned the need to review the "Annex I countries, Non Annex I" distinction and rethink the principle of joint but differentiated responsibility. We take the opportunity to extend these questions to the United Nations Frameworks Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Kyoto Protocol (KP) parties for the upcoming meeting in Bonn.
From low to middle income countries
In an attempt analyze the new geopolitics of the world, it was recognized that more countries in Latin America today are middle income countries, or on their way to be, and that they could take more radical and consistent actions to contribute to the overall reduction of carbon emissions.
National efforts to interpret this change were highlighted, and we called the authorities to decide the venue for the coming Latin COP, and to consider these countries' new legitimacy in the region.
Certainly these countries reduction targets are not yet where the severity of the crisis merits, but it is a good start and above all a good sign that should be emulated elsewhere. If it is decided that COP20 will take place in Latin America, CANLA member wish that this new factor is taken into account.
Disturbing carbon concentration news
Shortly after the meeting, where CANLA renewed its management structures and working groups in order to strengthen their activities, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii between May 7th and 08th 2013, measured that average concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had reached the barrier of 400 parts per million (PPM).
Truly disturbing news because it puts humanity on the dangerous edge of one of their absolute limits: the high concentration in the atmosphere of green house gasses directly related to human activities and intensive use of fossil fuels.
This fact increases the need for further critical discussion on development, growth patterns and life styles in the role of globalized economies and for examining economic alternatives for a 'better life' and a more coherent sense of progress.
CANLA Declaration from Lima
The figure 400 ppm revealed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) demonstrates the collective intuition of the organizations that formulated the CANLA Declaration in Lima. In the preamble they state that
"The strategy of "sustainable development" has not been effective in reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) or to achieve global development goals. This ambiguous concept has only served to create expectations that do not conform to the reality of what is happening today in most of the world's economies, where production and consumption patterns stimulate the intensive use of fossil fuels - the central cause of the current climate crisis."
Climate change as well as development need to be thought globally, and during the Lima-meeting, progress was made to harmonize the presence of CANLA in international negotiations in the future climate regime with an increasing need for regional advocacy, designed to draw attention to the crisis, educate new generations in finding innovative and collective responses and require effective commitments from governments to protect the most vulnerable communities.
F. Holderlin wrote a verse that perhaps better reflects the need for the world to take action and to rectify "that we change everything, everywhere." CANLA has begun to make its contribution, with ambitions beyond the call of Holderlin, but not with less hope.