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A grim picture emerges in Cancun

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A picture is starting to emerge from the early days of the climate talks in Cancun.

The trend in the negotiations appears to:

1. undermine the legally-binding Kyoto Protocol;
2. favour the non-binding, voluntary Copenhagen Accord;
3. promote emissions reductions by all countries without distinguishing between developed countries and developing countries;
4. accept a 4-5 degrees Celsius temperature increase;
5. favour the World Bank administering the new climate fund;
6. limit financing for climate change to a much smaller amount than needed;
7. promote market mechanisms, including REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation);
8. support a non-binding and non-negotiable pledge and review process;
9. maintain intellectual property rights on technology transfers needed by developing countries to face climate change;
10. oppose the Cochabamba peoples' agreement, including the recognition of the Rights of Mother Earth, the establishment of an International Climate Justice Tribunal, and the use of defence budgets by developed countries to address climate change.

In short, the world could see an agreement with insufficient, non-binding emissions reduction targets, a limited World Bank run climate financing fund, market mechanisms, and nothing from the Cochabamba peoples' agreement.

Expectations for an agreement at COP16 were deliberately lowered by governments and in the mainstream media in the lead-up to these talks. But what is happening now is even worse, an agreement that would be a huge step backwards.

La Via Campesina has declared "the failure of the Cancun Climate Summit in wanting to impose an illegitimate ‘agreement', since the prior negotiating tables are managed by a handful of countries outside the genuine process of multilateral negotiations. We consider that blackmail is being used to try to bring off this imposition."

The Council of Canadians is alarmed by the current direction of the talks and outraged by the role Canada has been playing inside COP16. We are appalled by the undermining of the multilateral process in these negotiations.

And it is unacceptable that the Harper government repeatedly says that it cannot act on climate change before the United States does.

If the Harper government cannot do what is right, then it would be better for it not be present at COP16.

Only mass popular pressure in Canada and from around the world can change this situation. We must reject the direction of the current talks and demand climate justice.

In the words of La Via Campesina, the rejection of climate justice at COP16 must be denounced and resisted.

Brent Patterson, Director of Campaigns and Communications, Council of Canadians

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