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Chief G-77 Negotiator Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping: US-Backed Proposals Mean Death for Millions of Africans

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With the talks entering the final twenty-four hours, a leaked UN document — exposed yesterday on Democracy Now! with French news website Mediapart — has created a firestorm of controversy here at the summit. The UN memo determines that global temperatures would rise by an alarming three degrees Celsius, or 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit, under the current emissions targets being discussed. We speak to Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, the chief negotiator for the G-77, the largest developing country bloc represented at the COP15. [includes rush transcript]

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!’s Climate Countdown. While President Obama joined nearly 120 other world leaders inside the summit, civil society has been locked out, and the large crowds both inside and outside the Bella Center have disappeared.

With the talks entering the final twenty-four hours, a leaked UN document, exposed yesterday on Democracy Now! with French news website Mediapart, has created a firestorm of controversy here at the summit. The UN memo determines that global temperatures would rise by an alarming three degrees Celsius, or 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit, under the current emissions targets being discussed.

Developing nations suffer the most from climate change. The G-77 is the largest developing country bloc represented at the climate summit here in Copenhagen, representing more than 130 nations. Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping is the chief negotiator for the G-77, which is currently chaired by Sudan.

I spoke with Ambassador Di-Aping yesterday here at the Bella Center. I began by asking him to outline the requirements of an acceptable climate treaty.

    LUMUMBA STANISLAUS DI-APING: The first criteria is that — is it must be upon the trajectory of 1.5 degrees Celsius, 350 ppm, and 60 percent reductions by 2020. It will be a deal that is based on Kyoto and where United States will have comparable reduction targets, economy-wide and domestic. And it would be a deal where non-Kyoto — Kyoto Protocol signatories who are noncompliant must be — must get their act together and do their part, by a full implementation of their reduction targets.

    AMY GOODMAN: The US has proposed $100 billion by 2020 of various countries, though not clear what they are committing to this, private and public. What is your response to that, and saying that it will not be on the table after tomorrow if a deal isn’t struck?

    LUMUMBA STANISLAUS DI-APING: Well, I do believe that $100 billion on the table today and off the table tomorrow is simply a negotiation tactic. That’s not how you negotiate as a state in a responsible matter that is concerned life and death, to start with.

    Second thing, United States, more than any other country, knows the implications of climate change. Louisiana was hit by Katrina. And until today, we know how much — it’s almost trillions of money — is being spent in order to resuscitate and rebuild Louisiana.

    United States knows very well that it is better to look at this from a comprehensive manner. In other words, short-term finance and long-term finance are inseparable.

    Fourth, or fifth, the required financing for short term must exceed $100 billion by huge margins. We do believe that we need about $400 to $500 billion in the short term on annual basis in order to address climate change.

    AMY GOODMAN: What does climate debt mean? I mean, today Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said we have to look forward, not back. What do you mean by climate debt? What do countries like the United States, do you feel, they owe?

    LUMUMBA STANISLAUS DI-APING: Climate debt is basically the damage or the price on the damage that industrialized nation has caused the world. It is a fact of life. We need to look at the future. They are right, we need to look at the future. Future emissions are equally dangerous and could destroy the world. So, how you deal with the two?

    We deal with the two according to the balance of obligations that we have accepted, that developed countries have a historical responsibility, have abilities, technology and know-how that can help the world. And these two factors mean the following: one, provision of finance and technology and diffusion of technology to developing countries; and equally, as far as the future is concerned, the major emitters, or emerging markets, reduction targets need to be accelerated through supported actions.

    Supported actions means two things: finance to help them do what is necessary, but more importantly, transfer of technology, because for economies like India, like China and other middle-income countries that have reached that, [inaudible] what is necessary is to have the right technology to help them take a greener pathway.

    AMY GOODMAN: Lumumba Di-Aping, you have called two degree increase a suicide pact, yet we see these leaked UNFCCC documents that indicate current negotiations would lead to three degree increase. What do you mean by “suicide pact”? And what’s your reaction to these latest documents? Did you know about them?

    LUMUMBA STANISLAUS DI-APING: Let me read to you what I mean and why it’s not only me who is opposing and rejecting this. And I read from the IPCC report. “In all four regions of Africa, and in all seasons, the median temperature [increase] lies between 3 degrees C and 4 degrees C, roughly 1.5 times the global mean response.” One hundred and fifty times, so a two degrees is not three; it’s actually 3.5 and above.

    So, for me, it means simply I will accept the total destruction of my continent, her people, in Copenhagen. That, I would not do. That should not be asked of Africa, because it is effectively saying Africa is not the part of the human family.

    AMY GOODMAN: And yet, Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia has now just made a deal with France. What is that deal, and what’s your response?

    LUMUMBA STANISLAUS DI-APING: He made a deal with France, perhaps in his capacity as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and he’s entitled to do that. But that’s not the African deal. I will read to you what exactly Africa said on what are the critical features necessary for the deal: a 1.5 degrees Celsius, a minimum of 45 — minus-45 percent reduction, and one percent — and I repeat — one percent of the GDP of developed countries for short-term finance. And that will be — will include about $200 billion in Special Drawing Rights. It will equally include rapid transfer of technology for developing countries.

    AMY GOODMAN: What is your message for President Obama?

    LUMUMBA STANISLAUS DI-APING: My message for President Obama: leadership requires taking very bold stands. Leadership is a set of elements including moral, ethical, economic, political. That’s what is necessary.

    AMY GOODMAN: Do you think he’s acting as a leader in global climate change issues?

    LUMUMBA STANISLAUS DI-APING: He must rise to that challenge.

    AMY GOODMAN: Who do you represent, the G-77? Explain, for especially an American audience, and especially because it’s not seventy-seven countries, G-77 and China.

    LUMUMBA STANISLAUS DI-APING: In the ‘60s, in the early ’60s, when we were struggling for independence, in the United Nations there were about seventy-seven developing countries who came together. And that’s what brought the Group of 77 into being. Group of 77 is very representative of developing countries, and it focuses on the economic and the climate change agenda for developing countries. It has a membership of 134 countries. Effectively, it represents 80 percent of the world population.

    AMY GOODMAN: And for China, for those who are charging — and the US government might be in this — saying you’re doing China’s bidding here, what would be your response?

    LUMUMBA STANISLAUS DI-APING: My response is a simple one. The world is not divided into an Occident and the Orient. This is what is central. China, Brazil, South Africa, India are developing countries with huge numbers of very, very poor people. Some are poorer than Africans. It is our responsibility, as one human family, not to think that any of us does not matter. The one billion poor Chinese as are important to me as the 100, or over that, in other parts of United States who are poor. We have to address this issue with the sense of morality and the sense of leadership necessary. Because climate change equally gives us a huge opportunity for a transformative approach to the challenge, making it possible to launch a green economic development that will benefit all, we must think and perceive of a world in which prosperity is possible for all, not simply an issue of defending or advancing the dominance of one group against the others.

AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, the chair of the G-77, which represents more than 130 countries, the largest grouping of developing countries.

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