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Ethicists from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America call for an ethically grounded agreement at COP 15 in Copenhagen.

The meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen, December 7-18, is a crucial opportunity to respond to the challenges of climate change at the highest political level. The international community at COP 15 should agree, according to the Bali Action Plan, on an agreement for the period after the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

From a climate justice perspective, a group of ethicists from various secular and religious convictions, from all over the world, convened by, taking into account the present stage of the negotiations, urge negotiators at COP 15 in Copenhagen to:

Respond to the cries of suffering people and the earth. Climate change is a global challenge and its effects are being experienced already in some regions of the world and will be more dramatic in the coming years. The present climate change crisis should be seen in relationship to the economic crisis. The current development and consumption patterns must change to stop the negative effects of climate change on human beings and ecosystems. A paradigm shift, in outlook and attitude, is needed to adequately and effectively respond to the cries of suffering people and the earth.

Defend the lives and rights of the most vulnerable. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report clearly showed how vulnerable regions and groups are and will be more affected by climate change. The low islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa, and poor and indigenous peoples, are the most at risk Decisions in Copenhagen must facilitate initiatives by people and institutions in these regions to cope with rapid climate change.

Make a fair agreement. The agreement to be reached in Copenhagen should take into account the common but differentiated responsibilities of nations as established already in the UNFCCC. Industrialized countries, because of their historic and current emissions of C[O.sub.2] and other greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions, must take the lead on deep and sustained cuts in emissions. Considerable financial resources and technology transfer must be made available to developing countries to enable them to adapt to climate change in a sustainable manner. The cultural dimension of climate change should not be overlooked. Strengthening the resilience of vulnerable populations would be an effective adaptation measure.

Approve an ambitious deal. We cannot afford to wait any longer. The scale of emission reductions must be sufficient to stabilize atmospheric C[O.sub.2] concentrations at 350 ppm, to prevent dangerous interference with the climate system. To do so, C[O.sub.2] emissions of industrialized countries should be reduced 40% by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels). While ambitious, this significant reduction goal is urgently needed to avoid irreversible climate change and make possible social and economical sustainability.

Reach a binding agreement. Being aware of the dynamics of the international community and learning from the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol implementation, it is essential that the international community reach a binding agreement in Copenhagen. The outcomes of COP15 must ensure a robust second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Despite its limitations, an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol is the option most likely to deliver on this goal

Look for alternatives. The climate change crisis poses challenges to which all people should respond. In the North and in the South, in the East and in the West, states, communities and individuals are already implementing alternative development strategies, lifestyles and energy paths. The search for a sustainable planet must be encouraged and strongly supported by the negotiators in Copenhagen.

Give hope. People all over the world are expecting a hopeful outcome from Copenhagen. Beyond self-praising discourses and political compromise, practical steps, based on the imperatives above, are needed from COP 15 delegates to respond to the expectations of people all over the world. Workgroup on Climate Justice

Gideon Calder, Henrik Grape, John M. Itty, Eunice Kamaar, Guillermo Kerber, Otto Kroesen, Jochen Motte, Dawn M. Nothwehr, Dominic Roser, Jim-Martin Schramm, Sangeeta Sharma, Ryan Urbano, George Zachariah Available online: get_file?p_l_id=14538&folderld=1083689& name=DLFE-2531.pdf
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Title Statement on Climate Change; Conference of the Parties
Publication:The Ecumenical Review
Geographic Code:4EUDE
Date:Jul 1, 2010
Previous Article:Interfaith declaration on climate change.
Next Article:Alastair McIntosh, Hell and High Water: Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition.

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