Global Policy Forum

The End Game in Durban?

As world leaders gather this week in Durban for the 2011 UN climate talks (COP17), a report released by the World Development Movement reveals shocking tactics employed by developed countries to skew climate negotiations in their favor. Common practices include secret meetings, the sidelining of developing countries by presenting them with readymade agreements on a “take it or leave it basis,” bribery and bullying. One recurrent form of pressure on developing countries during the 2010 and 2011 Summits , for example, was to make foreign aid conditional on their agreement.  As long as climate change negotiations continue to be played by these rules, no compelling agreement to fight climate change will ever be found.  

November 30, 2011

A report launched by the World Development Movement reveals shocking bullying and bribery tactics employed by countries including the UK and the US to try to kill the Kyoto Protocol, as negotiators from the world’s governments gather today in Durban, South Africa, for the start of the 2011 UN climate talks.

Through exclusive new interviews with negotiators from developing countries, the report exposes the ‘unfair, undemocratic and deceitful’ tactics used by developed countries to skew the climate change negotiations in their favour and backtrack on their legal commitments.

The report features previously unpublished testimonies from insiders at the Copenhagen and Cancun climate summits in 2009 and 2010. They reveal how key agreements such as the Copenhagen Accord were developed, including though secret meetings and the sidelining of developing country negotiators, followed by agreements being presented to developing countries on a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ basis.

The Copenhagen Accord marked a unprecedented shift in the UN climate negotiations, away from the binding emissions reductions of the Kyoto Protocol to a new system of voluntary pledges that would lead to global temperature increases up to double the current stated target of 2 degrees.

One developing country negotiator told the report’s author how rich country negotiators behaved: ‘There is no intention to agree a fair scenario, whether voluntary or by obligation. It’s so clear: “We only need your signature here, we have figured out everything, we have designed the role of your country, there is no more time, please sign here now.”’

The report also details how countries like the UK bribed poor countries into signing up to the Copenhagen and Cancun agreements that were against their interests by making funding conditional on their acquiescence. Ed Miliband, then the UK’s climate change minister, told developing county negotiators they must accept the Copenhagen Accord, otherwise the UK would not “operationalise the funds”.

Another interviewee told the author that developing country negotiators who are outspoken ‘are taken out of delegations for one reason or another, or booted upstairs, or suddenly are transferred, or lose their jobs, as a result of external pressures, usually in the form of some kind of bribe (not necessarily money), or exchange.’

Murray Worthy, policy officer at the World Development Movement, said today:

"If the bullying and bribery that was so evident in Copenhagen and Cancun continues here in Durban, rich industrialised countries will succeed in hammering the final nail in the coffin of the Kyoto Protocol, and destroy our chances of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. They will wriggle out of both their existing legal commitments to reduce emissions, and their historical responsibility for climate change."

"A just solution to climate change, on the other hand, would be one in which developed countries agreed to a second round of legally binding emissions reductions, and to fair and accountable financing to help poor countries deal with climate change. For this scenario to stand a chance, this time the game must be played by the rules.”





FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.