On January 31st, the deadline passed for countries to submit their pledged targets to be included in the Copenhagen Accord, the 3-page document that emerged from the Copenhagen climate talks in December and set up an architecture for countries to commit to their own chosen targets, and have them reviewed by an international body.  The deadline has come and go, and 97 countries have chosen to associate themselves with the Accord; yet Bolivia, now one of the leaders of progressive governments on climate change, is quick to point out that while the countries involved may represent a large percentage of global emissions (80%), their actual commitments are simply not up to the task of getting us to 350ppm.

Bolivia and it’s ALBA allies, along with Tuvalu, Sudan, and a few other vulnerable nations, were the few countries who stood firm till the very end in Copenhagen when the unambitious Copenhagen Accord was being thrust upon delegates in the final hours.  Without their courage and opposition to the weak document, the Accord would likely have been adopted, making it far easier for leaders like Barack Obama to call the summit a victory.  Instead, world leaders had to admit that this agreement was not enough, and that we would have to keep working hard in 2010.  And what’s important is that the media reported this to the wider public – while this may not seem like much solace, it’s key to continuing the momentum of our movement that the general public understand that we are not done yet.

Bolivia is leading in another major way as well – in April they will convene a major summit of progressive government leaders, social movement leaders, activists, and civil society to map out points of concensus and a plan for shifting the international debate on climate change towards an outcome that is fair and ambitious.  While Bolivia and it’s ALBA allies are often marginalized by the mainstream media, I have to say that I have been very impressed with their openness and their collaborative approach towards organizing this summit that reaches far beyond the anti-capitalist, radical wing of the movement that you might expect.  They have been working hard to reach out to a wide range of social movements and civil society, get invitations to government leaders with positions clearly different than their own, and map out an agenda that leads to open and honest conversations about a positive way forward.  In a post-Copenhagen world, their commitment and drive to building a broader and more powerful movement in 2010 is one of the most hopeful and inspiring things I see to get involved with right now.  See below for the Bolivian government’s analysis of the Copenhagen Accord, and for info on thePeople’s World Conference on Climate Change, click here.

*Bolivia says: The Copenhagen Accord will cause the temperature to rise to between 3º and 4º Centigrade*

David Choquehuanca, Foreign Minister for the Plurinational State of Bolivia, along with representatives from five campesino and indigenous organizations, declared at a press conference on February 8, that Bolivia is very concerned about the inadequacy of the greenhouse gas reduction commitments made by developed countries in the Copenhagen Accord.

Choquehuanca stated: “The commitments, of the developed states, related to greenhouse gas emission reductions will result in more than three degrees increase in temperature above pre-industrial levels. Some experts even say that the temperature could rise as high as four degrees above pre-industrial levels. The situation is serious. An increase of temperature of more than one degree above pre-industrial levels would result in the disappearance of our glaciers in the Andes, and the flooding of various islands and coastal zones.

For the Bolivian Minister, the demand made at the Copenhagen Conference was that the greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 40% or more below 1990 levels by 2020. However the emission reduction targets in the Copenhagen Accord of the countries that have been historically responsible for global warming only amount to 12% to 18 % by 2020.

“ The way these commitments have been made in the badly named Copenhagen Accord shows that this is a backwards step from the Kyoto Protocol” exclaimed Choquehuanca. “In the Kyoto Protocol. everyone had to first define a common goal for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and then it was up to the developed states in Annex 1 of the Kyoto Protocol to make reduction commitments to arrive at this objective. Now the methodology that is imposed by the Copenhagen Accord is that each developed country notes what it is going to do without considering the common target.”

“What is happening, in terms of greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments by the developed countries. reinforces the need for a World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights, that will be held in Bolivia, concluded the Minister. “This Conference will be a transparent and inclusive event, in which no one will be marginalized. The conference will be attended by citizens, social movements, scientists. We have also been inviting all the governments and the organizations within the United Nations to participate as delegates and experts to discuss along with the peoples how to address the crisis that affects us all.