Bolivia says 'our planet not for sale', opposes carbon market threat

December 8, 2012

The Plurinational State of Bolivia released the statement below on December 5 about the United Nations climate talks in Doha, Qatar. It was translated by Richard Fidler. Below that is Bolivia's official statement to the Doha talks. Both are reprinted from Bolivia Rising.

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At the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is being held in Doha, Qatar, on November 26 to December 7, the Bolivian delegation reaffirmed its rejection of the use and expansion of carbon markets as a tool for reducing emissions causing climate change in the world.

Bolivia presented a proposal using alternative tools not based on carbon markets.

Why are carbon markets not a response to the climate crisis?
In 2005, a scheme was implemented [the REDD — Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries] under which developed countries, historically responsible for climate change, were allowed to transfer their carbon reduction responsibilities to the developing countries through the use of carbon markets.

This enabled developed countries to buy reductions on the pretext that they were achieving greater economic efficiency in the fight against climate change.

This mechanism allows developed countries to buy emission cuts from developing countries, at prices between US$3-$20 per ton of carbon, to help fulfil their commitments, when it would have cost them an average of $38 to reduce the same amount. They argued that this would help cut emissions in developed countries.

To date, about twice the amount of 1990 carbon emissions by developed countries has been accounted for in carbon markets. The carbon market is a profitable business. But it does not in fact contribute to reducing emissions or solving the climate crisis.

This is an alarming situation, especially when scientists are speaking out strongly about the need for genuine cuts if we are to avoid climate catastrophe.

If we take a careful look again at the numbers, we realise that emissions have risen and continue to rise, notwithstanding that the carbon market data are an attempt to demonstrate the opposite. It is critical there is no further delay in taking immediate action and achieving real cuts.

We simply cannot leave the solution to the problem of climate change to carbon markets. These have demonstrated great efficiency in earning profits for the big corporations (about US$720 billion) at the cost of postponement of real action to confront climate change.

Bolivia proposes implementation of a new joint mechanism for adaptation and mitigation through integrated management of forests that prevents deforestation and avoids the emission of millions of tons of greenhouse gases.

It will be funded through the Convention’s Green Fund, using public funds from the developed countries, in line with the commitments made by these countries for a decade with no results to date.

The mechanism proposed by Bolivia represents a genuine alternative that is consistent with the principles of the Convention, and especially with the principles of equity, historical responsibility, and climate debt.

It is a proposal that seeks to achieve real cuts — thereby avoiding the transfer of developed nations’ responsibilities to the developing countries.

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Bolivia says our planet is not for sale

The following statement was made Wednesday by Jose Antonia Zamora Gutierrez, Minister of Environment and Water for the Plurinational State of Bolivia, at the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP18).

DOHA, Qatar -- Mr. President of the COP, distinguished Heads of State of countries of the world, Ministers, Officials, delegates and representatives of social organizations, indigenous peoples and communities and farmers of the world, receive a greeting from the Plurinational State of Bolivia and our President Evo Morales Ayma.

The planet and humanity are in serious danger of extinction. The forests are in danger, biodiversity is in danger, the rivers and the oceans are in danger, the earth is in danger. This beautiful human community inhabiting our Mother Earth is in danger due to the climate crisis.

The causes of the climate crisis are directly related to the accumulation and concentration of wealth in few countries and in small social groups, excessive and wasteful mass consumption, under the belief that having more is living better, polluting production and disposable goods to enrich wealth increasing the ecological footprint, as well as the excessive and unsustainable use of renewable and non-renewable natural resources at a high environmental cost for extractive activities for production.

A wasteful, consumerist, exclusionary, greedy civilization generating wealth in some hands and poverty everywhere, has produced pollution and climate crisis. We did not come here to negotiate climate. We did not come here to turn the climate into a business, or to protect businesses of them who want to continue aggravating the climate crisis, destroying Mother Earth. We have come with concrete solutions.

The climate is not for sale, ladies and gentlemen.

Mr. President, the withdrawal of some developed countries of the Kyoto protocol and avoiding of their commitments is an attack on the Mother Earth and to life. The problem of climate crisis will not be solved with political declarations, but with specific commitments.

We will not pay the climate debt of developed countries to developing countries. They, developed countries, must fulfill their responsibility. While some developed countries do their best to avoid their commitments to solve the climate crisis, developing countries are making greater efforts to reduce emissions, and paying the price of a climate crisis and that everyday leaves droughts, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, etc.

The climate crisis leaves us poorer, deprives us of food, destroys our economy, creates insecurity, and createsmigration. Climate change will make the poor poorer. Poorand developing countries have a great challenge: the eradication of poverty. And we’ll have to face a climate crisis for which we are not guilty.

In addition to adapting to climate change we must ensure security, education, health, energy for the population, provision of water and sanitation services, delivery communication and infrastructure services, job creation, provision of housing, reconstruction due to loss and damage caused by extreme weather events, adaptation actions, among others.

Mr. President, We denounce to the whole world the pressure from some countries for the approval of new carbon market mechanisms, although these have shown to be ineffective in the fight against climate change, and that only represent business opportunities. This is a climate change conference, not a conference for carbon business. We did not come here to do business with the death of Mother Earth betting on the power of markets as a solution. We are here to protect our Mother Earth, we came here to protect the future of humanity.

Yesterday forests were turned into carbon markets businesses, and the samewas done with the land, they tried to oceans and, worse, to agriculture. Agriculture is food security, employment, life, and culture. Agriculture is along with the land, mountains and forests, the house and the food of our indigenous and peasant communities.

We will not allow the replacement of the obligations of developed countries with carbon markets. The planet is not for sale, nor our life.

It is essential that developed countries take the lead with mitigation actions with concrete results and high ambitions and that developing countries do their part within their respective capabilities, and according to financial and technological transfers, solving problems of poverty.

Mr. President, In Bolivia we have the vision of Living Well as a new approach for civilization and cultural alternative to capitalism, and in this context we focus our efforts to create a balance and harmony between society and nature.
Bolivia, presented here concrete proposals to strengthen the global climate system. We have proposed the creation of the Joint Mechanism for Mitigation and Adaptation for integrated and sustainable management of forests, not based on markets, to strengthen community, indigenous and peasant management of our forests, which can promote climate mitigation actions without transferring the responsibilities of developed countries to developing countries.

Also, we promote consistently the creation of an international mechanism to address loss and damage resulting from natural causes and impacts of climate change in developing countries. Our country will not promote carbon market mechanisms such as REDD, and will respect and strengthen community management of forests.

Mr. President, We will not allow the people of the world to pay the bill for the irresponsibility and greed. It's time to give concrete answers to humanity and Mother Earth. Let's be careful of the intentions of some developed parties to make us feel resigned in front of this terrible reality, and admit the inertia and inaction of those countries that are historically responsible of global warming, sending us a message that is better to have a "pragmatic" attitude, which of course will condemn to cook planet and the extinction of the humanity.

Mr. President, brothers and sisters of the world, take these words as a commitment to life and Mother Earth. With this conviction we will be guided to meet the challenge we have in this conference, the challenge of saving the planet, and not to negotiate our climate. Thank you Mr. President.

Mr. President, brothers and sisters of the world, take these words as a commitment to life and Mother Earth. With this conviction we will be guided to meet the challenge we have in this conference, the challenge of saving the planet, and not to negotiate our climate. Thank you Mr. President.

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