In a presentation about the regional initiatives of the United Nations, Ricardo Lagos, ex-president of Chile and special envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations for climate change, has commented on two very interesting proposals regarding some of the many obstacles that are taking hold at the summit in Copenhagen. By both their content and because of whom he represents, they seem to be two very interesting suggestions. They seem to present, at least, two reasonable ways to advance the blocked negotiations.
First obstacle: Developed countries do not accept the agreement on gas emissions that are binding and compulsory to them, but not binding or compulsory to developing nations, as is the case with the current Kyoto agreement. Developing countries refuse to accept any compulsory or obligatory initiatives because they feel that these can present an unwanted economic burden. They will only agree to the initiatives if they are ‘generously’ financed. And it does not seem that any party is ready to put forth the money. The alternative, as Lagos has commented, could be to prepare a ‘catalog’ of possible initiatives in order to reduce the emissions of gas. The developing countries would voluntarily agree to some of the measures in order to contribute to the global reduction of emissions. These would be binding agreements for the participating countries, but they would be able to choose how to meet the demands according to the local economic, geographical and social reality. For the time being, the agreements only address global figures. This could be overcome by recurring to national plans of action that are in agreement with pre-established conditions. Among theses conditions, reforestation could play a prominent role.
Second obstacle: Some countries will not allow for an international body to supervise the emission of gases. This is seen as a threat to their sovereignty. The proposal would be to establish a regional supervision in direct relation to the regional branches of the United Nations. Regional supervision may be easier to accept. Logically, all countries have more influence at the regional level than they do globally. It would seem more like supervision among neighbors.
These kind of proposals bring fresh air to the negotiations, so necessary in the midst of discouraging perspectives.