Lula Criticizes Obama Once Again But Hails Cop-15 as Step in Right Direction

Lula Obama in Copenhagen The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, made an assessment this Monday of the Brazilian participation in the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-15), which ended in Copenhagen last Saturday, December 18.

The Brazilian leader criticized the United States' stance at the meeting and claimed that even though the agreement reached was only partial, the conference managed to solve part of the problem.

In his weekly radio show, Café com o Presidente (Breakfast with the President), Lula said that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions must be a priority to heads of state, especially those from developed countries.

According to him, historically speaking, the United States and European countries have emitted more pollutants, and are therefore more responsible for the planet's warming. The president singled out the United States, which under George Bush and now Barack Obama have never ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

"With its attitude, the United States has led many European countries, plus Japan, which are signatories of Kyoto, to want to end the protocol and leave nothing in its place, so that they too will not be committed to targets."

Despite the criticism, Lula believes that the agreement signed by China, India, South Africa, Brazil and the United States at the end of the conference was a step forward, but recognized that the global solution needs to be legitimated by all.

"By the next meeting, in Mexico, we should sign an agreement that everyone will comply with, so that we may set a global policy to promote global cooling." The president also asserted that the Brazilian targets presented at the conference, for reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions from 36.1% to 38.9% by 2020, are going to be enforced by law.

Making It Real

The COP-15 resulted in a "letter of intent," according to the executive secretary of the meeting, Yvo de Boer, who is also the UN Climate Convention secretary. To him, it takes work to make it "real, measurable and identifiable."

Yvo de Boer admitted that the agreement fell short of expectations. The COP-15 was attended by representatives of 192 countries. At the end of the meeting, participating countries were unable to sign a bonding agreement regarding greenhouse gas emissions.

The so-called Copenhagen Agreement was passed without unanimity, which is a requirement of the United Nations for an agreement to go into force. The agreement establishes that global temperatures are not allowed to go up more than 2º Celsius, but does not set any target for greenhouse gas emission reduction.

The document, however, provides for the creation of a US$ 30 billion emergency fund, over the next three years, to help poor countries fight the causes and consequences of climate change, as well as for up to US$ 100 billion to be raised in funds for long-term financing by 2020.

The document was the result of a meeting between the United States, Brazil, South Africa, India and China, and thus was not ratified by representatives of several nations, such as Sudan, Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and others.

"We are going to try to reach a legally binding agreement up until the COP-16, in Mexico," said de Boer. The coming meeting on climate change will be held in late 2010, in Mexico, but before that there will be a preparatory meeting in Germany.

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