Two years ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its fourth Assessment Report, detailing the world scientific community's consensus on the status of climate change. The IPCC report was frightening, predicting between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius of temperature rise by 2100 without action to control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But events have exceeded the IPCC's most pessimistic estimates as the growth rate of GHG emissions has actually accelerated!
We really can't put off effective action to prevent catastrophic climate change any longer. All of the world's major greenhouse gas emitting countries must be brought into an effective international climate change agreement. That makes action at the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen this December quite literally a life or death proposition for millions, if not billions.
Delegates from around the world met in Bonn during the first two weeks of June to work on preparations for Copenhagen. At the closing plenary of those meetings, Lim Li Lin of the Third World Network said:
...developed countries are in fact asking people in the developing world to allow them to continue their over consumption of the Earth's atmospheric space; and they are denying people in developing countries the space for their survival and development.
...the people in the developing world want to contribute to solving the climate crisis, for the benefit of the planet and all humanity. But this contribution must be fair and just.
What is "politically acceptable" in the rich, industrialised North is just not enough. It will mean climate chaos and destruction first and worst in the South, and also in the North. This is unacceptable.
There is an impasse in the international climate negotiations based on wealth. The countries of the global North are attempting to hold on to their advantage in power and wealth while the countries of the global South insist that they should not have to bear the burden for a problem created by the world's wealthy.
We simply cannot expect the global South to accept the proposition that they must remain relatively poor because we developed the cheap and dirty way before they did. The only way we will get a global climate deal is to make it a fair deal, and a fair deal will require a significant transfer of wealth from North to South to repair the damage caused by climate change and to build a zero carbon development path.
Many of Global Exchange's friends and allies are already working on climate change, but we believe that more effort needs to be made to build political support here in the United States for a climate deal that is fair to the global South and the poor in the North. That's what we have chosen to work on and that's why Global Exchange is launching our Climate Equity campaign. Global Exchange has been driven by social and economic justice for 20 years now. This is a comfortable niche for us.
The only basis upon which a fair global climate deal can be built is a more equitable distribution of the world's wealth and resources. With your help, Global Exchange's Climate Equity campaign will build support for a fair and effective global climate deal.
Thank you, as always, for your work on behalf of peace and justice.