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Category Archives: DC Green Festival Climate change Copenhagen Cancun Summit environmentalism

Venezuela’s chief climate change negotiator Claudia Salerno Caldera delivered a speech at the Seventh DC Green Festival highlighting the division between the Global North (developed countries) and Global South (developing countries) over climate change.
Salerno gained world recognition after Copenhagen talks as “the girl that banged the table” till her hand bled. She struck the table to denounce the Copenhagen Accord – a deal that she and other representatives from developing nations considered undemocratic and a “coup against the authority of the United Nations’ authority.”
The non-binding accord was based on the proposal of the US & its BASIC allies (Brazil, South Africa, India, and China) – leaving out a majority of UN members in the planning process. Limiting the rise in the global temperature by 2 degrees Celsius was the primary goal of the accord, but the agreement did not include any framework for reducing carbon emissions – the leading culprit of global warming.
At the 2010 DC Green Festival, Salerno shared with the audience one of the people that inspired her will to speak out: the president of her country, Hugo Chavez.Before heading to Copenhagen, Salerno said President Chavez told her to argue for an agreement that would "change the system" which created measures to reduce global warming and “not accept any deal that is not going to save the planet.” By allowing some countries the right to “buy the right to pollute” – currently accepted worldwide as emissions trading.
She also said "If climate was a man, developed countries would save it. They would do something to save the planet’," Salerno recounted before Green festival-goers."But the climate is not a man, and it is not a profitable fight," she added, “So, they're not actually engaged to dowhat they have to do."
In Salerno’s view of the current climate change debate, the major problem is a lack of political will among industrialized countries, specifically U.S. policymakers.
In her estimate, that will be the obstacle that will decide whether the UN Climate Change Summit in Cancun in December 2010 will be more constructive than Copenhagen.“We need strongpolitical will from developed countries to produce a goodagreement – not any agreement they try to produce in December,” she said, “but a good one.”
The Copenhagen Accord failed because the pact ignored the four years of work climate change negotiators mulled over and debated before the summit in Denmark last year, according to Salerno. The U.S. and BASIC countries attempted to negotiate a comprehensive deal in 40 hours that was already in a “delicate” state.
With an issue as complex as climate change, the slightest disagreement on measures to reduce carbon emissions could lead to the disappearance of glaciers and island countries such as Tuvalu whose representatives stormed out of the climate change summit as talks began to reach an impasse.
Throughout Salerno’s speech, she singled out the hypocrisy of the Global North – primarily the U.S. and EU states – who she believes help create a “vicious cycle of us going nowhere” because Salerno says they “always have an excuse to not commit themselves.”
"'They said they cannot commit themselves – developing countries – to a limit an increase in the temperature less than two degrees because their economies cannot affordit" Salerno said."But they can afford to see people die,” she continued, “They can afford to see countries disappear from the map.”
The EU, according to Salerno, is waiting on what the U.S. will do, since the U.S. is not an official party of the Kyoto Protocol. After the Copenhagen deal, American officials say they will aim to lower carbon emissions by 17 percent by 2020, since developing countries like China will also commit to lowering their carbon emissions.
 Developing powerhouses such as China and India were exempt from cutting emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. The U.S. is not legally bound by the Kyoto treaty once it became clear that developing countries would not have to face emissions target, even though China quickly became the world’s largest gashouse emitter.