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Climate activists concerned about Durban discussions

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Summary of story from Bulatlat, December 1, 2011

Filipino climate activists are pushing for a binding climate agreement, as the Conference of Parties 17 (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) continues in Durban, South Africa.

However, they are concerned that the United States is also sabotaging the ongoing talks.

The Kyoto Protocol is the only international agreement that commits countries  – but not the USA –  to reducing their carbon emissions by 5.2 percent from 1990 levels by 2012.

Frances Quimpo of the Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC Phils) and Climate Asia Pacific said most developing countries, including the Philippines, demand the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol and a binding commitment from industrialized countries to significantly reduce their carbon emissions.

“The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) today strongly reiterated their position that COP should work for the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol,” she said.

“But these demands fall on the deaf ears of industrialized countries. Even the host country South Africa is siding with the top global polluters.”

Greenpeace International released a statement exposing how a handful of major polluting corporations such as Eskom, BASF, ArcelorMittal, BHP Billiton, Shell and Koch Industries, as well as the industry associations of which they are members, are influencing governments and the political process on climate legislation.

Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International’s executive director, acknowledged that governments work with and learn from the business sector.

“But,” she said, “we will not avoid irreversible climate change impacts unless they [governments] listen to and act on the behalf of their citizens.

“In Durban, it’s time for governments to listen to the people, not the polluting corporations.”

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