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Asean Affairs   9 August 2012

Obama Backflips on Climate Goal

Global condemnation of US "gold medal" hypocrisy

GLOBAL - Today- Environment and development groups from around the world condemned the U.S. Climate Envoy Todd Stern's recent statement at Dartmouth College renouncing a limit of 2 degree celsius (2C) temperature rise as a global goal for UN climate negotiations.
Mr Stern said that agreeing to a framework to achieve the 2C goal would "only lead to deadlock" and that a new agreement should give countries "flexibility."
Responding from inundated Manila, were 250,000 people have now fled their flooded homes, Lidy Nacpil, Director of Jubile South - Asia Pacific Movement on Debt & Development said:
"It's shocking to us that this backflip on the global goal has been made as the Philipines suffers the very type of extreme weather disaster that will become more frequent and stronger as tempertures rise. Obama should try explaining to our people how much worse we need to prepare for in the future because he wants to have flexibility!"

"President Obama committed to a 2C global goal in Copenhagen in 2009 and again recently in Durban. Now, immediately before an election, he is walking away from his own weak policies. This backflip with a twist would win a Gold medal at the hypocrisy Olympics. It's breathtaking,"
Christian Aid's expert on the international climate talks, Mohamed Adow said.
"The 2C target was driven by the US and G8 countries. The poor and vulnerable states of Africa, the Pacific, and Latin America have been calling for 1.5C to avoid catastrophic climate impacts - but now the US is walking away from its own weak global target and pretending this is leadership.

I'm glad to see that the EU and AOSIS countries are fighting back," added Mr Adow.
"Even with the 0.8C global temperature rise that has already occurred, the world is witnessing the disastrous effects of climate change and poor, vulnerable communities are unable to cope. If the 2C limit is abandoned, then the impacts will get dramatically worse and leave millions more people suffering from hunger, diseases, floods and other disasters." Mr Adow said.
"The oil and coal billionaires who have poured money into Washington are laughing all the way to the bank, knowing neither Presidential candidate is serious about confronting climate change. The rest of the world certainly knows it cannot count on the US to even negotiate in good faith on this issue. The US comes to the rest of the world in bad faith and with dirty hands - hands stained by oil and coal money." Asad Rehman, Head of International Climate at Friends of the Earth EWNI said.
Jubilee South - Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development is a regional coalition of over 50 movements focused on people-centred development and environmental justice with a secretariat in Quezon City, Philippines.
Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.
Friends of the Earth EWNI is a membership organisation that campaigns for a beautiful world, a good life for all, and a positive relationship with the environment.

8 August 2012
For Immediate Release
Seyni Nafo
+49 152 117 31939

Africa Disappointed US Does Not Intend to Achieve 2C Climate Goal
BAMAKO, Mali - Today - The African Group of countries at the United Nations climate negotiations reacted with disappointment at the latest statements by the Obama administration on the global climate talks.
President Obama's Climate Envoy, Todd Stern, made a speech questioning the value of guaranteeing the internationally agreed (and reaffirmed) goal of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (2C).
Mr Stern has since issued a "clarification" stating that he was not intending to suggest the US did not support the goal, but that using an "approach that would guarantee such a goal... would only lead to stalemate" and that more "flexibility" was needed for nations' targets.
Speaking on behalf of the African Group, spokesperson Seyni Nafo said:
"Africa is at the forefront of climate impacts; science shows that temperatures rise here is approximately 150% the global average, so even a 1.5C global target could mean over 2C for Africa."
"That means the destruction of crops on a huge scale, as has occurred in the of heatwave that the US is experiencing today. But in Africa these crops belong to subsistence farmers and the result is  devastation and famine. This is not a game with numbers; its a question of people's lives, and so I am not sure there is much space for the 'flexibility' Mr Stern has spoken of."
"It is concerning that the US would now question the global goal it pushed for, and has agreed to numerous times internationally. It is more disappointing that in clarifying its position the Obama administration has said it 'supports' the goal but does not support an approach that guarantees achieving it."
"It's like they agree they want to have their cake, but they can't agree not to eat it; it's increasingly hard for us facing the impacts of climate change today to take a progressively weakening US position seriously. This is why Africa continues to push for a comprehensive global agreement based on what the science is telling us is required."
"For every day of delay in changing the global emissions profile the costs of adaptation to climate change mount. Those costs are currently being paid  by some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people: farmers, fisherfolk and the rural poor in Africa. The less that Mr Obama does today, the more he will owe these people tomorrow."

•The African Group is the group of 54 African countries represented in the UN climate change negotiations. Mr Seyni Nafo of Mali is its spokesperson.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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