Taking stock of Post-Copenhagen: where are we heading

By Sitanon Jesdapipat, Ph.D. Climate Policy Initiative, SEA START RC

The high level climate talk that just ended in Koenigswinter, West Germany yesterday was hailed as an ice-breaking event. I wonder what was the carbon footprints this event generated to just "break the ice", supposed to pave a way to Cancun talk in November.

This, however, is a necessary step to ensure that UN climate talk remains on track, and continued to be supported, while countries are having their own local agendas: terrorism continues to haunt the US, the EU must see the economic crisis taking place much more urgent, and the news of the Red Shirts captures headlines for weeks in Bangkok, for example.

To recapture the failures in Copenhagen, again, among the complexity of emerging item agendas and "the building block approach" devised in Copenhagen, I see at least four major stumbling blocks that would have to be overcome for a successful negotiation:

• The inadequacy of voluntary reduction pledge: Voluntary emissions pledges currently registered in the Copenhagen Accord put Earth on track for temperature increases of 3.5 to 4.0 degree Celsius (6.3 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit), far above the 2.0 C threshold for dangerous warming.

• The "yet to realize" financial pledge by developed countries in Copenhagen: fast track 30 billion USD by 2012, and 100 billion USD by 2020. One other trouble here is the proposal from the US which wants the World Bank to have a hand in administering the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund. It will be hard for developing countries to swallow.

• The different layers of MRV: international standards will be imposed upon all types of projects, especially those that get financial supports from international sources. Being lack of capacity, developing countries will have to pay handsome amount of the received fund to international consultants to do the job-such as the case of ISOs and other services.

• By allowing negotiations to violate the principle of the UNFCCC, "the common but differentiated responsibility and respective capability", being interpreted that emerging economies are the main culprit of global warming, the mitigation responsibility will be shifted from developed to developing countries-as adaptation requirements have already been.

This is the violation of development right for developing countries. To me, Cancun will be just another big meeting with very modest results-all of which will benefit big economies. Developing countries, especially the least-developed countries, will be the real scapegoat. This is a not a zero-sum game. One of the options for Thailand is to intensify our sensible development philosophy: the sufficiency economy.