South Africa will lodge a formal complaint with the Group of 77 (G77) plus China after South African negotiators were harshly criticised for trying to disrupt the unity of the developing nation bloc at climate talks in Copenhagen.
The G77’s Sudanese Chairman, Lumumba Di-Aping, during an emotional meeting with African civil society earlier this week, criticised the weakness of many African delegations, who were lazy or had been “bought off” by industrialised nations, according to a blog by South African journalist Adam Welz.
Mr Di-Aping said some members of the South African delegation had actively sought to disrupt the bloc’s unity. Mr Di-Aping, who called the meeting at short notice, was reported to have requested microphones be switched off so as not to record his comments.
Tears rolling down his face, he said: “We have been asked to sign a suicide pact. “He lambasted the dominant thinking that global warming be restricted to 2176C as amounting to “certain death for Africa” – and this in exchange for only $10 billion (R75bn) a year, the level of short-term financing over the next three years proposed by the UN. Mr Di-Aping said this was “not enough to buy us coffins”.
South African senior negotiator Joanne Yawitch said on Thursday that South African members of parliament attending the meeting had confirmed statements were made that were “very disparaging” of South Africa. “We don’t know on what basis (Di-Aping) is saying it,” she said. “I don’t know if (he) got carried away, but we have severe problems with it. We should have been able to deal with it through the appropriate channels… We are deeply concerned that sentiments were expressed in a public forum.”
A complaint would be lodged, and a meeting with Mr Di-Aping was being sought. Some developing countries are understood to be unhappy that economically advanced nations like South Africa, India and China have disclosed targets to reduce emissions intensities, believing it undermines the G77’s negotiating position. South Africa has pledged a 34 percent emissions cut by 2020 off a “business as usual” scenario, assuming adequate financing flows. Differences in the G77 spilled into the open on Wednesday as Tuvalu requested a break in official proceedings in Copenhagen.
This came after the Pacific island nation, which is not a G77 member, tabled a protocol calling for discussions on a legally binding agreement to Kyoto that would set reductions from 2013. It was rejected by bigger G77 nations, but was supported by many others. South African chief negotiator Alf Wills said the reluctance to discuss the proposal was a procedural concern.
If it was opened for discussion, then so too would a Japanese proposal that would “kill” the Kyoto Protocol that binds developed countries to emissions cuts.
Mr Wills said the G77 – comprising the interests of oil-exporting nations on the one hand and small island states on the other – was not unified on the required degree of average global temperature containment, but 2176C appeared to be the “middle of the road” number.
The Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis), which seeks a temperature rise of not more than 1.5176C to preserve its 43 members, yesterday described as “entirely normal” the differences in the G77.”The G77 is not breaking up,” said Aosis chairperson Dessima Williams. The group was united by its history of pursuing development from underdeveloped circumstances, and its insistence on preserving the Kyoto Protocol.
Source: (www.busrep.co.za 20091211)
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