Expectations of the climate talks in Cancún

The Swedish centre-right thinktank Fores hosted a two-part seminar on November 9th, before the climate talks in Cancún, Mexico.

Norma Pensado Moreno, the Mexican ambassador to Sweden, said the developing countries need help with adaptation, and a bottom-up approach is needed. Mexico’s climate ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, have met the civil society, and not only government representatives.

Marc Baptist, the Belgian ambassador to Sweden, said climate and environment are among the top priorities. There is a gap between what the EU wants and what the developing and emerging economies can implement. The focus should not only be on the EU. It is important to reach a global agreement. We have to build on the Kyoto protocol, according to responsibilities and capabilities.

Laura Kirkconnell, Economic Councelor at the United States embassy in Sweden, said that we need a symmetrical and balanced agreement. We need to move the world towards a low-carbon economy. With the horrible oil spill from British Petroleum, Americans realised it is not the future. Cleantech can create new jobs.

The second part of the seminar was with representatives from the civil society.

Svante Axelsson, Secretary General of The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, said COP15 flopped because the United States was not ready.

Joakim Sonnegård, the former head of the climate political secretariat at the Government Offices, said that the Kyoto protocol is in principle ineffective. The Montreal protocol is much better. It is good that money goes from the north to the south. But it has nothing to do with climate. The United Nations, which is the only world arena that can give legitimacy, needs to be reformed.

Sonnegård seemed uncomfortable in the panel, and he often rolled his eyes in displeasement when the other two spoke. He said the environment and civil rights movement have played an important role in the negotiations since the middle of 1980s. While looking at Axelsson from The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, he said it is important for everyone to know where these movements stand politically. Modern works of political science in geo-politics that are published now describe the civil society organisations as a powerful force. But they are not reviewed as such. Who are they serving?

– I was very surprised that Svante Axelsson, whom I know as a man of great morals and integrity, did not distance himself from the G77 spokesperson Lumbumba’s description of the Copenhagen accords as a suicide pact, and his comparison with the extinction of Jews in WW2. Sudan is not known for any progress in human rights. Venezuela did what it could to damage the settlement. Where is the criticism against them? I have not heard them, Sonnegård said.

Andreas Ulfsax, policy officer – climate justice, Diakonia, said it is important to climate-proof the aid to developing countries.

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Watch the video of the second part of the seminar and read more on the Fores website.
It is in Swedish.

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