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Dec 9, 2009

Belizean delegation headed to climate change summit in Denmark

26075Leaders of many countries are gathering in Copenhagen, Denmark to come up with viable solutions to the problem of climate change. But as soon as the talks started, they broke down because leaders of developing nations are split over a new proposal called the Tuvalu Protocol. The Pacific island proposed the protocol, which forces deeper global emission cuts but from other developing nations rather than from rich nations. Many countries support the legally binding commitments that the Kyoto agreement places on industrialized nations and strongly oppose the new proposal. While Tuvalu received support from Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago and several African states, fifteen countries, including the powerful India, China, and Saudi Arabia didn’t. Prime Minister Dean Barrow and a large delegation will head to the summit this weekend. But while there is anticipation that a treaty will be approved to provide funds to smaller countries from countries that produce greenhouse gases, Barrow was not so optimistic.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“What’s being looked at is the effort to trying to get a binding agreement out of Copenhagen that would deal with this question of greenhouse gases or CO2 emissions. The threats that uncontrolled or unreduced emissions pose to life and pose to survival, especially in the case of small island and low lying coastal states are well documented. We’re talking about coral bleaching, we’re talking about the possibility of sea level rising that can inundate places like Ambergris Caye, we’re talking about the fact that Belize City, which is supposed to be below sea levels would have to start contemplating on building sea defenses, we’re talking about the variation in precipitation that’s going to affect agriculture and food security; we’re talking about a whole gamut of threats that that constitute a clear and present danger. So it is especially important—forget the wider concerns of the planet which are important—but it is especially important for us that are particularly vulnerable try to come away from Copenhagen with some kind of agreement. It seems to be clear that while the alliance of small island states and while in fact the Commonwealth was able to reach agreement at the Port of Spain Summit, that’s not likely to be replicated at Copenhagen. I think that the original ambitious goal is being retreated from somewhat. The hope is that some kind of operational understanding can be reached and that the binding treaty framework can then be concluded in next year, 2010. You are not going to get treaty language coming out from Copenhagen. Since our forests are storers of carbon and whenever you cut down a tree, it releases carbon into the atmosphere, that there ought to be some mechanism to compensate countries such as Belize fro forest conservation. We need to get at least that kind of an issue finalized because it’s going to have now a positive on our economic development and our need for revenues.”

At a meeting last week in Guatemala among the Ministers of the Environment of Central America, a new cost was placed on the ecological debt they contend should be paid to the region by the industrialized world. That figure of a hundred and five billion US for the past five years is only a preliminary one. Chief Environmental Officer, Martin Alegria accompanied Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, who is the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment. According to Alegria, Nicaragua, Salvador and Guatemala insisted that the ministers should put a dollar figure on the costs of climate change. But Belize was not prepared to provide that amount because since a costing exercise has not yet been done.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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