World

Bolivian-led indigenous movement presses for role, emissions cuts in climate talks

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Bolivia's president pressed for a greater role Friday for developing nations in global climate talks and deep cuts in rich nations' greenhouse gases, presenting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with an alternative climate declaration.

The Cochabamba declaration was the fruit of an alternative climate conference uniting 35,000 people including indigenous, environmental and social leaders in Bolivia last month.

At a news conference at U.N. headquarters, Morales bitterly complained that the voluntary emissions-cutting pledges of the U.S.-brokered Copenhagen Accord are inadequate.

Morales said "we are talking about decolonizing the atmosphere" because rich nations are using more than their share of the atmosphere by emitting too much carbon pollution that leads to global warming.

Morales' position is in line with that of China and India, who complain the United States is using too much "carbon space" by emitting about a fifth of all the world's greenhouse gases.

China has edged past the United States as the planet's biggest greenhouse gas emitter mainly from fossil fuel burning, but emits far less than the U.S. on a per-capita basis.

Morales warned unless there is a binding climate treaty the planet will be doomed to overheating.

Earlier this week, some 40 nations agreed to take individual steps to fight global warming but made little progress during a three-day meeting near Bonn, Germany toward a new international climate change treaty.

Germany and Mexico, which co-hosted the meeting of environment ministers, said the meeting made headway on saving forests and transferring climate technology from rich to poor countries, but left the toughest issues unresolved, including how to cut greenhouse gases and administer financial aid for poor countries.

They said nonetheless the meeting was an important step toward the next major U.N. climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, in December.

"There are two ways forward: Either save capitalism, or save Mother Earth," Morales said. "If Cancun is the same as Copenhagen, then unfortunately the United Nations will lose their authority among people in the world."

The self-styled Bolivian climate conference was born out of opposition to the Copenhagen Accord, which pledged to raise about $30 billion over three years to help poor countries combat the effects of climate change.

The United States, European Union and other wealthy nations also set a goal of "mobilizing" $100 billion a year by 2020 for adapting to and countering global warming, but they did not specify what their individual contributions might be.

The Cochabamba declaration instead demands $300 billion a year to deal with global warming, emissions cuts of 50 percent by 2020 in developed nations and an international climate court for enforcement.