COPENHAGEN, DENMARK (10 December 2009) - On Human Rights Day, the Peoples' Movement on Climate Change (PMCC) demand negotiators in the UN Climate Change Conference to make human rights the center of their negotiations for a global climate deal.
"Climate change causes human rights violations at every turn, from new health risks, to mass migration, to falling food and water supplies, to the disappearance of shelter, land, lives, livelihoods, and cultures. And those worst affected are the same ones whose rights protections are already precarious - the poor in developing countries, women, farmers, coastal and island dwellers, and indigenous people," says Wahu Kaara of the PMCC.
Developing countries bear over nine-tenths of the costs of adverse climate impacts, including an annual death toll of 300,000 from weather-related disasters, and economic losses amounting to $125 billion per year.
"Negotiators, particularly from rich counties, should start thinking of the lives of millions especially in poor countries whose rights are being undermined by climate change, and stop scheming to produce a deal that best protects their economic privileges," Kaara adds.
The PMCC's statement comes on the heels of the leaking of the "Danish Text", a draft agreement secretly written by rich countries including Denmark and the United States. The text abandons internationally legally-binding emissions reductions commitments by rich countries, and forces developing countries to agree to specific emissions cuts. The text also allows developed countries to emit nearly twice as much carbon per person than developing countries by 2050.
"A deal like this," according to Don Marut of PMCC, "will effectively lock rich countries' disproportionate share of the atmospheric space, and take away from developing countries and their poor majorities the right to develop. It asks the poor to remain in poverty, while they suffer from climate change. Poor countries cannot be expected to prioritize emissions cuts, not while millions in them still struggle to overcome poverty and realize their rights.
"The people need a rights-based climate deal. It is a deal that will protect the poor and the vulnerable from adverse climate impacts, and will make rich countries pay for having infringed on the poor's right to life, food, shelter, health, development, and so on," Marut adds.
"Developed countries, particularly the United States, the world's largest historical emitter, should submit to binding emissions reductions of at least 45% below 1990 levels by 2020, and at least 95% by 2050. They should also provide funds amounting to 1.5-2% of their GDP, as well as necessary technologies, to which developing countries should have democratic access and control."
Ms. Maria Theresa Lauron
Ms. Maitet Ledesma
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