Pact for Survival
A new approach after the Copenhagen Dec 2009 Conference

UN Climate convention negotiations cannot deliver a safe climate outcome until almost every country supports this goal. Before that, the outcomes will be very substantial compromises. A complementary international process is needed to get leverage on the UN negotiations.

At the Copenhagen conference the small island states and the vulnerable countries showed that they realise they face major risk right now and that the goals everyone goes for around the world should be those that make the vulnerable nations safe. But the West Antarctic is now melting in a way that will cause a quarter to a half a metre sea rise by 2100 - with current temperatures and CO2 levels. (See: http://tinyurl.com/ybclefn ) Only the restoration of a safe climate will protect the vulnerable nations effective - by refreezing the Arctic and Antarctic and cooling the ocean.

The safe climate goal could be promoted effectively if the vulnerable countries ( 10 to 20% of all countries) banded together to create and sign a Covenant for a safe climate - a formalised version of the Maldives’ Pact for Survival - a real highest common denominator treaty but outside the UN process.

Because the vulnerable countries are mainly very poor they could invite support from philanthropic/aid groups and ENGOs. They could set up a team to identify which local councils and state/provincial governments around the world are also highly vulnerable to sea rise / drought (desertification), water shortage, extreme flooding/storms/cyclones, catastrophic bushfires, food security problems, refugee influx, military tension driven at least in part by climate change. Then they could encourage these vulnerable local governments and state governments to sign on to the pact. The pact would then cover parts of most countries in the world. But the Pact signatory governments (local, state and national) would still be relatively weak when set directly against the big national governments in the UN process that currently see no need to take strong action.

So the Pact governments could add an additional layer of membership - community groups. These groups could be asked to campaign for change in policies in the countries still blocking effective action in the UN processes. In that way basically all the community climate groups in the world could be working in an organised framework to get safe climate policies up in the UN negotiations -but via the coordinated efforts of the Pact for Survival signatories.

The Pact for Survival governments (now including thousands of vulnerable but often quite rich local governments around the world) could easily effort to pay for the scientific work needed on safe climate goals and this would automatically become part of the IPCC process - because its rules are that it summarises all the peer reviewed science conducted around the world.

This idea gives people concerned about climate something constructive and potentially very powerful to work on internationally, instead of pouring our hopes futilely into the currently disastrous UN process.

Author:  Philip Sutton
First posted: 2010
Content updated: 26
January 2010 (3)
Format updated: 26 January 2010
Feedback & Enquiries:  Philip.Sutton@green-innovations.asn.au
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