12 December 2012
The United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP18/CMP8, which this year took place in Doha, Qatar, concluded last weekend. Negotiations were extended in an effort to reach a positive decision involving all parties; however, yet again, we have witnessed a COP sadly devoid of significant decisions on climate change, one of the most serious issues humankind currently faces.
This demonstrates once more the lack of political will to deal with this challenge. The refusal of some governments to prioritise climate change and its consequences exposes a vast inadequacy of effective global governance and a disregard of moral obligations. Without political will there is no political action.
Negotiations at last year’s conference, the COP17/CMP7 summit in Durban, initiated the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action. This mandate was to underpin plans for a new, legally binding international agreement committing all countries to reduce greenhouse gasses, to be formalised by 2015 and take effect by 2020. It is imperative that this plan advances from the negotiating table to become a solid, effective and fully operational collective treaty, and extensive headway on this should have been seen in Doha. A work plan and timetable of meetings have been organised to take place during the next three years in order for a negotiating text to be ready by May 2015. Nevertheless it is deeply disappointing that a consensus was not achieved for an earlier completion date, considering the enormous urgency of the matter.
Despite opposition from some states, a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol has been agreed, which will extend the agreement from 1 January 2013 to the end of 2020. However, it is not backed by some major nations and covers only 15 per cent of global emissions. The Protocol, which is currently the only binding climate change treaty in existence, provides a framework for obligations on emissions reductions and underlines the historical responsibility of developed countries to lead in this task. This is a necessity that was re-emphasised by many speakers at the conference, including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Developing nations, as we know, are not only vulnerable to the effects of climate change but are seriously affected by the emissions from other countries. They unfortunately lack the capacity and resources for mitigation and adaptation, and reported at the COP18 that finance had now become a make or break issue.
Finance was one of the crucial matters hindering progress at Doha. It is deeply worrying that no substantial commitments have yet been made by developed countries, despite their acknowledgment of responsibility. At the COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009, developed nations pledged a fund of US$100bn annually by 2020, but there is no evidence in the outcome of Doha that this pledge will be fulfilled. Advances have been made since COP17 to the Green Climate Fund and some financial contributions have been pledged from several countries in order to ensure the Fund’s operation. However, while it was agreed that a significant share of multilateral funding would flow through the Fund, without it the Fund will be redundant.
In the year since the last summit, environmental disasters such as hurricanes, flooding and droughts have occurred at an alarming rate and with growing force. In 2012 extreme flooding was witnessed across the globe, and most particularly in Africa and Asia. In September 2012, scientists reported that ice caps in the Arctic Sea had reduced to unprecedented levels. They projected that, within four years, these ice caps will melt completely during summer months, signifying a ‘global disaster’. In October 2012, ‘super-storm’ Hurricane Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, devastated parts of the Caribbean and the North-eastern United States, killing 253 people from seven of the countries it passed through. A 2012 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report suggests that hurricanes and cyclones of this magnitude will become more frequent and that it is very likely heat waves will increase.
These recent environmental events have had catastrophic effects on nations and no example carries more immediate impact than that of typhoon Bopha which tore through the Philippines while delegates argued unsuccessfully on issues at the COP18. In describing the destruction caused by the typhoon, the lead negotiator of the Philippines delegation made an emotional appeal to world leaders to face the stark reality, asking that 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to find the will to take responsibility for the future we want. As he put it, “if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?”
Climate change cannot be ignored. From the displacement of people to severe food and water shortages, the damage is unfolding in front of us. An international treaty to substantially reduce emissions and provide mitigation and adaptation measures to help cope with the changing environment is a vital instrument to secure the survival of planet Earth.
Effective action to prevent the planet’s temperature from increasing by more than 2°C, the target for containing global warming as set out in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, is long overdue. The pledges made in Doha to reduce emissions are inadequate for this aim and it is now overwhelmingly apparent that the 2°C goal may be unattainable. The proposed new treaty’s projected timescale of 2020, or at best 2015, means that results of any new commitments may also materialise far too late. If we are unable to achieve the target of a 2°C limit, we are left with a completely uncertain future.
As the Socialist International has advocated, the key objective must be growth based on low-carbon technologies and efficient use of energy. Policies to confront the current financial crisis must be combined with policies that combat climate change. There is no choice between preserving the earth’s environment and rejuvenating the global economy – the two tasks are fully interrelated and should be accomplished when taken together. It is essential that more funding is prioritised for research and innovation on new models to achieve sustainable development. This is a key step forward to fight climate change. As the SI underscored in its report “From a High Carbon Economy to a Low Carbon Society”, we have the shared goal of reaching a low carbon society centered on climate justice. This is a matter for every country, as every country’s survival depends upon it.
The world’s biggest greenhouse gas-emitting countries must face up to their responsibilities. Issues of contention such as disparity between countries on levels of action, finances, and surplus credits should be dealt with swiftly. The Socialist International reiterates the need for a strong commitment from the international community to forge the political will necessary to combat climate change and come together now for action to secure a sustainable world.
19 August 2015
Hiroshima - Nagasaki
World Refugee Day
133rd IPU Assembly,
Meeting of parliamentarians
from SI member parties
18 October, 15.00 – 17.00 hrs
Meeting of the SI Mediterranean
26 - 27 October 2015
Meeting of the SI Council
27 - 28 November 2015
04 October 2015
19 October 2015
25 October 2015
25 October 2015
Presidential and parliamentary
25 October 2015
Member Party Congresses
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Social Democratic Party of
Bosnia and Herzegovina, SDP BiH
03 October 2015
Resolutions and Decisions of the XXIV Congress
Report of the Secretary General
15 NOVEMBER 2014
José Antonio Viera-Gallo, a prominent Chilean lawyer and socialist, with broad experience in public service in his country, where he has served as a parliamentarian, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Senator, Minister Secretary General of the Presidency, as well as Minister of the Constitutional Tribunal of the Republic of Chile, accompanied by the lawyer, Professor of Law at the University of Chile and collaborator of the Socialist International Secretariat, Claudio Herrera, are in Caracas from 13 to 16 November as representatives of the SI to gain information about the circumstances under which the leader of the Voluntad Popular party, Leopoldo López, continues to be imprisoned along with numerous other political prisoners, and to make representations for their early release...
IRaq and Syria
15 October 2014
The latest developments in Iraq and Syria continue to demonstrate that the terror carried out by ISIS is a major threat to international peace and security, to the people in the region and to the world at large, which must urgently be brought to an end. We reiterate the previous calls of the Socialist International for the international community to unite in response to this terror and to act in defence of the innocent populations of Iraq and Syria, and in support of those from all ethnic and religious groups affected.
Iraq and Syria
25 September 2014
From the headquarters of the United Nations in New York, where the international community has come together to stand against terror, the Socialist International recalled the declaration of the SI Council in Mexico City on 30 June-1 July 2014 on the insurgency in Iraq, which condemned the acts of the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The attacks perpetrated by ISIS have increased in their barbarism and the group now operates with disregard for national borders across areas of northern Iraq and Syria...
16 September 2014
The Socialist International Committee for the CIS, the Caucasus and the Black Sea, meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan on 15-16 September 2014, addressed the issue of overcoming conflicts and securing peace in the region, paying particular attention to the current conflict in Ukraine. With the participation of its member parties from Ukraine and the Russian Federation, along with social democratic parties from other countries of the region, the committee discussed and agreed upon the need for a swift end to the conflict...
14 July 2014
The Socialist International, deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis in Gaza and the increasing civilian death toll, urges both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to immediately de-escalate the crisis, to restore calm and re-establish the ceasefire of November 2012, as called for by the Security Council of the United Nations on 12 July. The respect for humanitarian law, and in particular the protection of civilians, is fundamental, as the loss of life and the suffering that the world has witnessed in the past days is totally unacceptable...
24 JULY 2014
Socialist International condemns unreservedly the assault by the Israeli Defence Force against a school used by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) as a shelter in northern Gaza harbouring refugees, mostly women and children, killing at least fifteen and leaving hundreds injured. Reports from UNRWA officials highlight that great efforts had been made to secure a window so that civilians could evacuate to safety but these efforts were to no avail. For over seven years the citizens of Gaza have had to endure hardship and suffering brought about by Israel’s blockade of the enclave....
04 JUNE 2014
The President of the Socialist International, George Papandreou, during a working visit to Jordan, was received on Monday 2nd of June, in Amman, by His Majesty the King Abdallah II. The King reviewed the repercussions of the crisis in Syria on neighbouring countries, mainly on Jordan. George Papandreou underlined the key role of Jordan for stability in the broader region and praised the contribution of King Abdallah in the efforts to address political and humanitarian problems created by the civil war in Syria...
17 February 2014
The situation in Venezuela continues to be of serious concern for the international community. That in a democracy violence can reach the levels observed last week in Caracas and in other places of the country with people being killed and injured, opposition leaders being persecuted, with restrictions on freedoms, including the freedom of information, amongst others, point to the gravity of the situation in that country...
17 February 2014
The agreement between the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu on a Joint Statement is opening the way for renewed negotiations and provides a solid basis for a constructive dialogue that can lead to a functional and viable resolution of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible. It also creates the conditions for ending, at last, the unacceptable status quo...
11 February 2014
The Socialist International has congratulated Sushil Koirala, the president of its member party the Nepali Congress (NCP), on his election on 10 February as new Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. Sushil Koirala got the support of 405 of the 553 members of parliament that took part in the vote. The NCP will now have again, after its last time in office in 2006-2008 under the late G. P. Koirala, the opportunity to bring forward its social democratic agenda and to strengthen the institutional framework of Nepal...
07 FEBRUARY 2014
Ahead of the second round of Geneva II talks, and following the agreement on the removal of the country’s chemical weapons, our priority in Syria must now be to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis. According to available estimates, more than 130,000 people have been killed since March 2011. Millions more have been displaced as refugees. Securing a ceasefire would provide immediate relief for citizens caught in the fighting and enable humanitarian aid to reach those in need…