“Cooperating to stop climate change is an obligation to nature and also a way to reestablish justice in international society”
The UNFCCC COP14 is helding from 1-12 December in Poznan, Poland. As agreed in the Bali Action Plan, both the global north and south are to discuss the ‘shared vision’ that will substitute the Kyoto Protocol by 2009 at the Copenhagen climate talks.
To stabilize the global temperature rise within 2℃, the post-2012 emission reduction plan must include strict global target.
The goal of the emissions reduction plan is to limit the rise of global temperatures to within 2℃ compared to that of pre-industrial society. The most important task of this convention is to stop global warming, and to achieve this goal, all countries should join in emissions reductions, and bear ‘shared yet differential’ responsibility, which differs from country to country according to historical circumstances and economic capacity. Every nation should agree to restrictive guidelines that ensures the reduction of net emissions. ‘Voluntary reductions’ cannot solve the crisis that we are facing. All parties should join efforts to reduce emissions but developed countries should share more responsibility because of their ‘historic influence’. The present classification of Annex I and non-Annex 1 is too simple. We need a classification that makes countries such as Korea, Singapore, and Mexico - countries close to the advanced countries in terms of development but so far not obliged to reduce emissions - share more responsibility. Also, setting the goal to be met by 2050 is too loose. It will only give nations a way to avoid facing the political burden that is needed right now. The goal of reduction should be planned by a timeline, such as short-term (1-3 years), mid-term (5-10 years), and long-term (10-30 years) goals, and we should start to reduce emissions right now.
While reducing emissions, we should also prepare to adapt to climate change, and a strategy of ‘righteous transfer’ should be met during the transition.
Climate change is a global phenomenon, but poor countries and small island nations are the first to be affected. Industrialization brings climate change problems such as droughts and floods, and also changes in water use leading to depletion of underground water, desertification, water pollution, and lack of potable water, and all of this again makes the poor people even poorer. Extreme weather change will adversely affect agricultural production, and super-typhoon and hurricanes will produce great numbers of victims that need emergency intervention. Thus, as mentioned in the UN Millennium Declaration, nations should assist poor nations to prepare for climate change. We support the proposal by developing countries urging “developed countries to raise 0.5~1% of their GNP apart from the ODA” to assist poor countries in confronting climate change. Developed countries must actively transfer technology and funding to poor countries that are the victims of the climate change. This assistance should reach the victims immediately without delay. International society and each government must prepare safeguards to protect the life and economic rights of socially vulnerable groups such as indigenous people, women, elder people, and farmers. Also, no-one should forget that those vulnerable people are the ones who have the right to propose alternative ways to prevent climate change. The effort to stop climate change will need social change, and it is inevitable that some workers might lose their work-places for change. Each government must prepare ahead to minimize job losses and their impact on individuals.
Strategies for emissions reductions should be based on the ‘demand control’, not on the technical approach (such as nuclear energy and CCS) or market based approach (such as carbon markets).
Strategies for emissions reductions must start with reducing the net production of CO2, so we oppose every approach that leaves the present level of energy production and consumption unchanged, and that only tries to seek technical solutions. To reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, we should focus on reducing energy demand, and the method should be sustainable. We oppose nuclear energy for its inherent dangers. Japan and other countries are trying to get approval of the CDM for nuclear energy production, but we will not just sit and watch that happen. CSS should not be the first priority because the safety of the technology is not yet confirmed, and also because it doesn't lead to the reduction of consumption of carbon energy. Producing bio-energy after removing tropical rain forest brings even more threats to the environment and bio-diversity, and it can serve as another way to exploit the third world. Also, we strongly oppose the use of crops such as corn, bean, and sugar cane as fuel because it can bring shortage of food in the third world. Emissions Trading, Clean Development Mechanism, and Carbon Markets should be reconsidered. A carbon market that deals with Emissions Trading and CDM cannot be the right strategy to deal with climate change because it delays the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. We cannot put our future in the hands of the market, because in the event of market failure, the system won't work efficiently, as has been shown in the case of British Cliimate Exchange Market. We should make agreements on reduction of transport via air and shipping, because this makes up a large part of the emissions.
International society should pay attention to South Korea which is a developed country, and Korea must have obligatory emissions reduction targets.
South Korea ranks 10th in energy consumption, 6th in oil consumption, and 9th in greenhouse gas emissions. The rate of increase of gas emissions is first among OECD countries, and accumulative emissions rank 23rd. The government of South Korea has done nothing in the international effort to stop climate change. At the G8 meeting in Tokyo, Japan, President Lee Myung Bak noted that “Korea will be the ‘early mover’ in the field of climate change and energy policy.” However, the Korean government's plan to reduce energy consumption has been delayed for a year, and on top of that, it is considering percentage reduction of emissions from the BAU(Business as Usual) level instead of absolute emissions reduction, which has less effect. Considering South Korea's status as an OECD member and G20 member, along with South Korea’s GDP and energy consumption per capita, South Korea should not be considered a ‘developing’ country. From this convention, we demand that South Korea share the same obligations as a developed country or richer developing country. We urge the South Korean government to adopt absolute emissions reduction instead of percentage reduction of emissions from the BAU. Reading documents produced by the South Korean government, we can see that the government is focusing on supply-oriented policies, and also on nuclear energy. South Korea’s government is planning to build 9 to 11 new nuclear power stations, and to register 2 or 3 more areas as sites for new nuclear power stations. As long as one focuses on nuclear power, the use of less energy, the more efficient use of energy, and the use of renewable energy will be delayed. Therefore the nuclear power plan of the South Korean government must be abandoned. The government must strictly control total energy consumption at present levels, and reduce the level later on. South Korea should start reducing gas emissions from 2009. South Korea’s role in preventing global climate change should be stepped-up. South Korean ODA compared to its GNI(gross national income) in 2007 was only 0.07%, which was only 1/5 of Development Assistance Committee(DAC) member countries, and the ODA per capita of South Korea (US 10$) is far less than that of the DAC member countries(139$ per capita).
This is the test case for the revival of Global ‘Justice’
UNFCCC COP14 must protect the rights of the economically and socially deprived when developing its strategies and policies. The international community efforts to find a way to stop climate change is an obligation to nature, and also a way to regain justice in the international community. Over 10 thousand people representing each government, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations are attending this convention. If we don't try hard enough to find the right path, we will be mocked for emitting even more greenhouse gases by flying all the way here for no fruitful outcome. The “Citizens and Workers' Committee” is attending COP14 to make alliances with the NGOs of the world, and to pressure the South Korean government to share its obligation as a member of the international community to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The years 2008 to 2009 are a critical period in the history of earth because the speed of climate change will be depend on the decisions made in this period. The Korean Citizens and Workers' Committee will do our best to ensure the post-Kyoto Protocol Framework starting from 2013 offers stronger strategies to stop climate change.