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Klein, Khor "Danish Text" commentary

AMY GOODMAN: President Obama will be getting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo tomorrow. He will be addressing the escalation of war in Afghanistan, receiving the Peace Prize as he announces the escalation of war. Naomi Klein, your response to this and how the United States fits into this Danish text and President Obama coming here next week, agreeing to come at the end, not at the beginning?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, you know, on the one hand, it's encouraging that he's coming at the end; on the other hand, we have to understand how politics works. And I think probably this text, the existence of this text, has something to do with why Obama agreed to come to the end. I mean, most people here have observed that Obama wouldn't come unless they had--there had been some sort of a guarantee of an outcome that would have been acceptable to the United States, and clearly they thought this Danish text was going to be adopted.

So--but, you know, if we think about Afghanistan, even coming back to the headlines that you read earlier about Zelaya, you know, one year into the Obama administration, I think that we're seeing, on so many of the key issues that we really believed there would be change or where change was promised, that there was a new era of relationships with Latin America, that there was going to be a much less aggressive stand when it comes to the military, the financial sector and now climate change, we're seeing some very, very--a series of very profound betrayals. And this is one piece of it, but a major piece of it.

AMY GOODMAN: Martin Khor, on that same issue?

MARTIN KHOR: I think that the US has a positive role to play in the climate negotiations, which it has yet to play, by allowing those countries who are in the Kyoto Protocol--and that's all the developed countries except the US--to remain there and to take their commitments there and to take high commitments there to reduce their emissions by at least 40 percent. And the United States, even if it does not want to join the protocol, for whatever reason, can take a similar commitment inside the convention, because the US is a member of that convention, and do a similar commitment, do a similar cut.

Now, the reverse is happening, as we have seen in the Danish text, that those developed countries in the Kyoto Protocol with high commitments are on the verge of jumping ship to join the United States, where the US is not willing to commit to an international treaty at the moment and is giving a very low commitment figure of reducing its emissions by about four percent between 1990 and 2020, when the science says we have to do it by at least 25 to 40 percent, preferably 40 percent, and Europe is willing to do 30 percent. So it looks as if the other countries are watching the United States and saying that if the US is going to do so little and is not going to be internationally legally bound, then we are all going to follow the United States in a race, if not to the bottom, to very near the bottom. And this is what is at the heart of the crisis in the negotiation.

So, if Mr. Obama comes and he can--even if he cannot join the Kyoto Protocol, and we understand why, he could urge the other countries not to jump ship to the US, because one day the US is willing to jump up to their standard, and they can just wait for the US for another five years.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Dec 9th, 2009 at 02:51:08 PM EST

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