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Climate Change

Doha

12 December 2012

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The United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP18/CMP8, which this year took place in Doha, Qatar, concluded last weekend. Negotiations were extended in an effort to reach a positive decision involving all parties; however, yet again, we have witnessed a COP sadly devoid of significant decisions on climate change, one of the most serious issues humankind currently faces.

This demonstrates once more the lack of political will to deal with this challenge. The refusal of some governments to prioritise climate change and its consequences exposes a vast inadequacy of effective global governance and a disregard of moral obligations. Without political will there is no political action.

Negotiations at last year’s conference, the COP17/CMP7 summit in Durban, initiated the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action. This mandate was to underpin plans for a new, legally binding international agreement committing all countries to reduce greenhouse gasses, to be formalised by 2015 and take effect by 2020. It is imperative that this plan advances from the negotiating table to become a solid, effective and fully operational collective treaty, and extensive headway on this should have been seen in Doha. A work plan and timetable of meetings have been organised to take place during the next three years in order for a negotiating text to be ready by May 2015. Nevertheless it is deeply disappointing that a consensus was not achieved for an earlier completion date, considering the enormous urgency of the matter.

Despite opposition from some states, a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol has been agreed, which will extend the agreement from 1 January 2013 to the end of 2020. However, it is not backed by some major nations and covers only 15 per cent of global emissions. The Protocol, which is currently the only binding climate change treaty in existence, provides a framework for obligations on emissions reductions and underlines the historical responsibility of developed countries to lead in this task. This is a necessity that was re-emphasised by many speakers at the conference, including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Developing nations, as we know, are not only vulnerable to the effects of climate change but are seriously affected by the emissions from other countries. They unfortunately lack the capacity and resources for mitigation and adaptation, and reported at the COP18 that finance had now become a make or break issue.

Finance was one of the crucial matters hindering progress at Doha. It is deeply worrying that no substantial commitments have yet been made by developed countries, despite their acknowledgment of responsibility. At the COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009, developed nations pledged a fund of US$100bn annually by 2020, but there is no evidence in the outcome of Doha that this pledge will be fulfilled. Advances have been made since COP17 to the Green Climate Fund and some financial contributions have been pledged from several countries in order to ensure the Fund’s operation. However, while it was agreed that a significant share of multilateral funding would flow through the Fund, without it the Fund will be redundant.

In the year since the last summit, environmental disasters such as hurricanes, flooding and droughts have occurred at an alarming rate and with growing force. In 2012 extreme flooding was witnessed across the globe, and most particularly in Africa and Asia. In September 2012, scientists reported that ice caps in the Arctic Sea had reduced to unprecedented levels. They projected that, within four years, these ice caps will melt completely during summer months, signifying a ‘global disaster’. In October 2012, ‘super-storm’ Hurricane Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, devastated parts of the Caribbean and the North-eastern United States, killing 253 people from seven of the countries it passed through. A 2012 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report suggests that hurricanes and cyclones of this magnitude will become more frequent and that it is very likely heat waves will increase.

These recent environmental events have had catastrophic effects on nations and no example carries more immediate impact than that of typhoon Bopha which tore through the Philippines while delegates argued unsuccessfully on issues at the COP18. In describing the destruction caused by the typhoon, the lead negotiator of the Philippines delegation made an emotional appeal to world leaders to face the stark reality, asking that 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to find the will to take responsibility for the future we want. As he put it, “if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?”

Climate change cannot be ignored. From the displacement of people to severe food and water shortages, the damage is unfolding in front of us. An international treaty to substantially reduce emissions and provide mitigation and adaptation measures to help cope with the changing environment is a vital instrument to secure the survival of planet Earth.

Effective action to prevent the planet’s temperature from increasing by more than 2°C, the target for containing global warming as set out in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, is long overdue. The pledges made in Doha to reduce emissions are inadequate for this aim and it is now overwhelmingly apparent that the 2°C goal may be unattainable. The proposed new treaty’s projected timescale of 2020, or at best 2015, means that results of any new commitments may also materialise far too late. If we are unable to achieve the target of a 2°C limit, we are left with a completely uncertain future.

As the Socialist International has advocated, the key objective must be growth based on low-carbon technologies and efficient use of energy. Policies to confront the current financial crisis must be combined with policies that combat climate change. There is no choice between preserving the earth’s environment and rejuvenating the global economy – the two tasks are fully interrelated and should be accomplished when taken together. It is essential that more funding is prioritised for research and innovation on new models to achieve sustainable development. This is a key step forward to fight climate change. As the SI underscored in its report “From a High Carbon Economy to a Low Carbon Society”, we have the shared goal of reaching a low carbon society centered on climate justice. This is a matter for every country, as every country’s survival depends upon it.

The world’s biggest greenhouse gas-emitting countries must face up to their responsibilities. Issues of contention such as disparity between countries on levels of action, finances, and surplus credits should be dealt with swiftly. The Socialist International reiterates the need for a strong commitment from the international community to forge the political will necessary to combat climate change and come together now for action to secure a sustainable world.

IN MEMORiam

 
Maria Jonas
Secretary General of the Socialist International Women 1985-1995

1940 - 2018

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SI welcomes the release of political prisoner Manuel Rosales

02 JANUARY 2017

The release from prison of Manuel Rosales, leader of Un Nuevo Tiempo, UNT, of Venezuela, an SI member party, has been warmly welcomed by the Socialist International. He was unjustly imprisoned following his arrest in October 2015, returning to the country after six years in exile. While celebrating his release, we vigorously protest against the conditions imposed on his freedom, including the need for him to regularly report to authorities, and forbidding him from leaving the country. The International salutes his courage and strength, and expresses its support and solidarity to his family, friends, and comrades...

IRAN

SI condemns terrorist attack against member party KDP-Iran


21 DECEMBER 2016


The Socialist International firmly condemns the terrorist attack against the party headquarters in Arbil of the SI member Kurdistan Democratic Party, KDP-Iran, which took place on 20 December. The attack was carried out as party members were leaving a memorial ceremony honouring former party leader Abdulrahman Ghassemlou, who was assassinated in Vienna in 1989. Four party members, a member of the youth organisation and a security guard died in the attack and several others were seriously injured. Our International extends its deepest condolences to the families and comrades of those killed. The SI reiterates its strong solidarity with all members of the KDP-Iran at this difficult time.

POLITICAL PRISONERS

Political Prisoners

turkey

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The Socialist International firmly deplores the arrest this morning of Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, Co-Chairs of the People’s Democratic Party (Halkların Demokratik Partisi), HDP, an SI member party, and the detention of 11 other HDP parliamentarians, in a further blow to Turkish democracy following earlier crackdowns and restrictions on the freedoms and rights of the citizens of that country. The HDP is the third largest political party in Turkey and won seats in parliament in June 2015 despite the existing 10% threshold, and again in the elections re-called in November 2015. In May this year, the immunity that MPs usually hold from prosecution was removed from HDP members. Party members have subsequently protested against repeated raids of their homes and offices...

 

veneZuela

SI Declaration on Venezuela

21 OCTOBER 2016

The Socialist International deplores the decision adopted yesterday, Thursday 20 October, by the Electoral National Council (CNE) of Venezuela to postpone until a new judicial order the process of collection of 20% of signatures required to activate a recall referendum on the government of Nicolás Maduro scheduled for 26, 27 and 28 of this month. In its public declaration, the CNE bases its decision on compliance with the Constitution and observance of precautionary measures adopted by the criminal courts of Valencia, San Fernando Apure, Aragua and Bolivar, after accepting complaints for alleged electoral crimes against the political forces which are members of the Mesa de Unidad Democrática (MUD), an alliance which includes member parties of the SI, in the process to activate the recall referendum...

 

SYRIA

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Colombia

Standing with Colombia for peace


26 SEPTEMBER 2016


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GamBia

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22 JULY 2016


The Socialist International firmly denounces and condemns the sentencing of Ousainou Darboe, leader of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) of Gambia, an SI member party, along with 18 other party members and sympathisers, to 3 years imprisonment, having been arbitrarily detained since 16 April 2016 following a peaceful demonstration. The SI utterly deplores this travesty of justice and calls for their immediate release. We equally call on the international community to join forces in denouncing the conduct of the dictatorial regime of Yahya Jammeh and calling for an end to the continuing violation of human rights in that country...

  • ♦ 23 August 2016
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TURKEY

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16 JULY 2016


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SI calls for an immediate end to the confrontation between Azerbaijanis and Armenians


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The Socialist International has followed with great concern the hostilities and attacks that have taken place in the last 48 hours between Armenians and Azerbaijanis with a regrettable loss of numerous lives. Our International calls for an immediate ceasefire and for an end to these hostilities, and at the same time reiterates the urgent need for a resumption of dialogue within the framework of the Minsk Group, a body accepted by both Armenia and Azerbaijan and recognised by the multilateral organisations, to resolve through negotiation and in accordance with the principles of international law...

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Uganda

In support of democracy in Uganda


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