In Copenhagen Brazil Praises Own Plan and Calls US’s and EU’s Proposal a Scandal

Brazilian chief of staff Dilma Rousseff Brazilian minister Dilma Rousseff, the Lula administration's chief of staff and would-be candidate in Brazil's 2010 presidential election, accused this Sunday, in Copenhagen, rich countries of trying to treat Brazil and other developing countries as if they were developed.

She arrived Saturday, 12, in Copenhagen for the last week of the conference. For her, the proposal that developing countries also contribute to funding for a global fund to fight climate change is "a scandal." Rousseff made her opinion known at the first meeting of ministers of the UN's 15th Climate Change Conference (COP 15).

Rousseff believes that Brazil has the best and most detailed proposal for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases among all proposals brought to Copenhagen. She was adamant to say that the Brazilian government will not tear down the Climate Convention or throw away the Kyoto Protocol to meet the interests of the developed countries.

According to the minister, who participated this Sunday in a meeting at the Danish Foreign Affairs ministry with about 60 ministers and representatives of other countries involved in the COP 15 negotiations, there will be no agreement if the developed countries don't assume their responsibility, which includes more consistent numbers of emission reduction and granting financing to developing nations.

"We have several points of view, all legitimate in every side, but we need to reach an agreement with global legitimacy," said Dilma at a  news conference held at the Island Hotel in Copenhagen.

Rousseff reaffirmed that the Brazilian proposal brought to Copenhagen was drawn up taking into account the interests of Brazil, showing that development is perfectly compatible with the protection of the environment.

The minister made it clear that the responsibility for the planet's climate is a task to be shared by all, but the burden must be differentiated taking into account mainly the GDP per capita and the amount of CO2 already emitted.

Developing countries, she argues, have per capita emissions and CO2 production much lower than that of developed countries. Consequently the richer nations are the ones that need to reduce emissions. Moreover, developed countries have to pay the costs of financing future mitigation actions in developing countries.

There are two "tracks" of negotiations, said Rousseff, fundamental to the success of Copenhagen meeting. The Kyoto Protocol track requires a mandatory reduction of emissions by developed nations and a voluntary one by the developing countries. On the other hand, the long-term Climate Convention track, should provide funds for the poorest countries to develop without polluting.

The Brazilian position, the minister said, is clear: to take serious voluntary actions like significantly reducing Amazon deforestation, having a sustainable production of biodiesel and energy production through clean sources such as hydropower, and having its own funds, as the Amazon one and the newly created Climate Change fund, to develop future actions for mitigation and environmental protection.

Rousseff doesn't buy the argument that rich and poor should pay equally for cleaning up the planet: "I feel this as a reversal of responsibility. Say how much you (developed countries) will put (at the fund), the responsibility is yours. To admit that developed and developing countries have the same treatment is a scandal," said the minister.

Rousseff seemed optimistic, though. She said he felt that there was progress in the talks, but that the money problem is still far from being solved.  Brazil, she informed intends to contribute with money to a fund and also counts on foreign financing, something rich countries seem to be avoiding in their latest proposals.

"Today, in Brazil, we are funding with our own money. We are doing our part. If there is (international) financing we will do it faster," said the Brazilian minister. "Whoever thinks he has money should contribute. But you must have a lot of money and you won't meet your own goals. We're not going to take a step larger than we are able to."

According to the chief of staff, the Kyoto Protocol is very clear in defining that the rich countries have historical responsibilities for causing pollution and, consequently, those industrialized nations should also get a larger share of the burden for the cleaning up effort.

She criticized the way countries like the United State and European nations act. "They don't accept their responsibility. They get around this issue. But you cannot go on without talking about it," Rousseff stated.

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