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The UNFCCC or COP 16 is now in full swing in Cancun

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After the disaster in Copenhagen expectations are, unfortunately, very low. This negative feeling is being heightened by positions being taken by governments like Canada's. Canada started the COP with the same winning ways of all previous COP's since the Conservatives have been government, winning all three fossils of the day -- this is not a good thing.

I've pasted the statement on why Canada won this dubious aware below, all things we have been fighting at home. As terrible as Canada is, the Japanese outdid Canada on Day 2 when they announced, never, ever, under any circumstances, would they inscribe new targets under the Kyoto Protocol. There are a few big struggles here -- keeping Kyoto alive is one, as it is the only legally-binding instrument that we have to work within and it will be ongoing as long as we don't allow a few powerful countries to undermine and gut this agreement.

Was wonderful to present alongside our very respected colleagues, Martin Khor and Meena Ramen of the South Center and Third World Network at an event inside the official UN climate change negotiations. It was very well attended with over 200 people present. The big draw was to hear Martin Khor's assessment of the negotiations, he has been doing this work with governments for so long and is very well trusted by Southern negotiators.

I presented on water quoting a lot of Maude's work and trying to present a hopeful message after the very negative assessments by both Martin and Meena. My main messages was that water and climate are inextricably linked, that there are solutions but we need to empower communities to make positive changes and that water justice was climate justice.

One thing I neglected to stress, so want to do it here, is that water is the climates coolant. If we look at Slovakian hydrologist, Michal Kravchik's work, it is clear that water can be an agent of climate mitigation. We are destroying micro-hydro climates which cool the planet, we are also reducing the amount of water in the soil, limiting biomass and destroying the planet's ability to cool itself and naturally sequester carbon.

The Slovakian President will be presenting some of this work in Cancun, and this is hopeful, alongside the work of the Bolivian contingent but few others unfortunately!

Overall, the negotiations are predictably depressing with some powerful governments undermining any progress.

The key points seem to be many governments trying to again kill Kyoto and ensure there is no next phase, even though it is supposed to be ongoing and binding!!! This is terrible because even though flawed, this is the only mechanism that exists to ensure accountability and compliance.

There is also a big debate even on the Copenhagen Accord article 4 about whether the scope of Copenhagen can be broadened and enhanced.

REDD and REDD+ are also being vigorously debated with few on the anti-REDD side and lots of money promoting REDD. The theory sounds fine, who would not want to reduce environmental degradation and deforestation (REDD), but the trouble comes in the implementation.

Another terrible thing is that the U.S. is pressing for a pledge and review process which is non-binding and non-negotiable....they set the targets and you can take it or leave it....sadly, others in Annex 1, which have been legally-bound under Kyoto, are joining this travesty.

Finally, the big carrot here is the hope that a fund will be established. There is such a reduced expectation here that it seems the announcement of a fund, even without firm commitments of money to establish the fund, will be seen as a victory. You can also be sure that promise of funds will be contingent on promoting a neo-liberal climate change program which includes markets, offsets and the like.

Our governments seem to be trying to do everything but actually make changes that would give us hope. There are exceptions but the smaller states seem to be sitting on the sidelines more this time hoping for better outcomes than the Copenhagen Accord, with Bolivia continuing to play a strong role!

Wish I had better news and here's hoping that my assessment is unduly negative. I could use a little hope.

In solidarity,

Anil Naidoo, Project Organizer, Blue Planet Project

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