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Bullying behaviour of developed countries could affect talks at Durban

Bullying behaviour of developed countries could affect talks at Durban

A report by the World Development Movement into the threatening behaviour of developed countries at past climate change summits could cast a shadow over this year’s summit. Charlotte Reid finds out more.

Leading figures in developed countries have been accused in a report by the World Development Movement (WDM) of using bullying tactics during climate change summits.

The findings of the WDM report came from an analysis of information from the Wikileaks cables released in 2010, as well as talking to a number of delegates from developing countries.

The report exposes tactics like having meetings in corridors that not all countries knew about and often without translation. The results of these talks are then presented as take it or leave it situations.

Details were revealed that the UK bribed poor countries into signing agreements against their interests; otherwise they would withdraw funding that helps poorer countries to deal with climate change.

It says, “The US and the UK openly stated that the climate finance would be limited to those that signed up to the Copenhagen Accord.

“Ed Miliband, the UK minister, was blunt about linking the funding of developing countries with accepting the Accord. Those that supported the Accord had to register this support. The concerns he raised needed to be duly noted, ‘otherwise we won’t operationalise the funds'”.

The report highlights behaviour that took place at the COP (Conference of the Parties) meeting in Copenhagen in 2009.

At the end of the summit, the Copenhagen Accord was brought forward and delegates were given 60 minutes to read it. The Bolivian delegates asked, “Why are we given 60 minutes to look at this document now which will decide the lives of our people?“.

One diplomat told the author of the report, “At one point in Copenhagen there were 26 meetings taking place simultaneously. How can a developing country delegation of two possibly hope to cope?

“These numbers are life and death. 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 for your country, there is no more time, please sign here now.”

The Wikileaks cables also brought information to light about climate change talks. They revealed that the US was looking out for information to use against nations opposed to the US’s approach to global warming. A cable revealed that the US told diplomats to find out countries’ positions on climate change and their key players in Russia, China, Mexico, France, Japan and the European Union.

Murray Worthy, policy officer at the WDM, said if the developed countries continue to behave in this way, it will affect more than just the talks taking place in South Africa for COP17.

“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.”

To follow what happens at COP17, read Blue & Green Tomorrow’s coverage. Four practical steps you can take yourself would be to speak to your financial advisers or let us find one for you through our online form, switch to renewable energy, make your Christmas as ethical as possible and if you are going to Durban, look at one of our sustainable travel partners.

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