Archive for August, 2012

Advogacia Geral da União advoga contra direitos indígenas

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Todas as ressalvas são ruins e encolhem direitos indígenas. Umas são terríveis, como aquela em que o direito constitucional de usufruto exclusivo por parte dos indígenas das riquezas contidas nas terras indígenas é “relativizado” — durma-se com uma dessas!

A indignação de índios e indigenistas, antropólogos e advogados, é imensa. Não que viesse a ser surpresa, já que, desde a súmula da Raposa Serra do Sol, se esperava uma regulamentação por parte do Ministério da Justiça. Quem a regulamentou afinal foi a AGU, livrando a cara do MJ e, por extensão, da FUNAI. Agora, que estes órgãos se pronunciem. A questão é muito sério para fingir que não é com eles.

Ficar indignado e não fazer nada é mesmo que choro de criança. Algo tem que ser feito, a partir da OAB, da ABA e da própria FUNAI, que não pode ficar inerme a esse ato anti-indigenista. As organizações indígenas já estão se manifestando.

Agora, fingir surpresa, não. Desde o início da votação sobre o tema Raposa Serra do Sol, em agosto de 2008, que se sabe que o STF iria apresentar mudanças na visão indigenista brasileira. Os ministros consultaram diversos antropólogos, ONGs, CIMI e outras associações sobre esse tema. Desde a votação final, em 19 de março de 2009, que se vem esperando uma atitude por parte do indigenismo oficial brasileiro sobre as várias questões que foram deflagradas pelas 19 ressalvas e mais a definição da data da promulgação da Constituição de 1988 como base temporal para definir ocupação indígena de determinada terra. O próprio STF, através de decisões liminares, já se pronunciou sobre algumas das ressalvas em casos diferentes. Surpreendentemente, o que um ministro diz, o outro desdiz.

Apresento abaixo uma série de artigos que escrevi com base nas discussões sobre o caso Raposa Serra do Sol e a súmula cheia de ressalvas daquela votação. Dá para ver o que estava para vir, e veio. Numa entrevista de julho de 2008, antes de proferir seu voto, o ministro-relator Ayres Britto já antecipa que o caso Raposa Serra do Sol vai definir como será o processo de regulamentação de terras indígenas. Será que ele sabia que o ministro Madeiro iria pedir vistas para apresentar as tais ressalvas? Bem, é possível.

O leite está derramado. Agora é lutar para mudar tudo isso, não só essa decisão da AGU, mas a posição que a FUNAI deve manifestar. A política indigenista de caráter rondoniano tem uma resposta clara. Resta saber se o que está sendo implementado é desse caráter, ou se a política indigenista atual vai continuar no papel de desfocar os casos mais importantes para o futuro dos índios, aplicar uma cortinha de fumaça e continuar na sua regressão no tratamento infantil que vem sujeitando os povos indígenas brasileiros.

Aproveitem as leituras, comparem com o que outros estão escrevendo e façam os comentários que acharem pertinentes. Esse assunto é fundamental para definir o futuro dos índios brasileiros.

Índios emparedam ministro da Justiça e advogado-geral da União

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Mais de 60 índios, entre Kayapó, Xavante, Fulniô, Terena e representantes das associações indígenas, indigenistas da FUNAI e missionários do CIMI estiveram no Auditório do Ministério da justiça, onde foram recebidos pelo Ministro da Justiça, José Eduardo Cardozo, e o Advogado Geral da União, Luís Inácio Adams.

Os índios falaram e falaram bem.

O grande líder Raoni Metuktire falou na própria língua, com tradução do seu sobrinho Megaron Txukarramãe. A fala de Raoni é simples e objetiva. Ele quer a revogação do Decreto 303, emitido pela AGU, à revelia da FUNAI, dos indigenistas e dos próprios índios. Esse Decreto restringe direitos indígenas já consagrados, leis estabelecidas e práticas de convivência entre índios e o Brasil. É um acinte aos índios, um retrocesso político e pré-rondoniano, e, segundo Dalmo Dallari, inconstitucional.

O advogado-geral da União, Sr. Luís Inácio Adams fez um discurso que beirou o patético. Disse que estava simplesmente regulamentando a súmula exarada pelo STF por ocasião da confirmação da homologação da TI Raposa Serra do Sol. Estaria estabelecendo um “marco legal” para que as terras indígenas e as novas demarcações tivessem segurança jurídica. Ninguém comprou seu peixe, e quase foi vaiado. Seu constrangimento se manifestava em cores, em seu passo lento e em seu rosto assustado.

Adams teve que admitir, quase digo “confessar”, que fez esse decreto sem consultar ninguém do governo, nem MJ nem Funai, muito menos os índios. Também essa ninguém acreditou. Alguém está por trás disso, e ele não teria publicado algo de que se falava há muitos meses, e especialmente nos últimos dias, sem os retoques do MJ, da Funai e da Secretaria Geral do Governo. Porém, sua fala desculposa foi corroborada pelo ministro Cardozo que na frente de todos disse que nem estava sabendo do que estava acontecendo. Opa, mais um pateta no circo. A tônica de “toda culpa para a AGU” saiu da fala do ministro Cardozo, e foi repercutida até pela presidente da FUNAI. Estava evidentemente combinado que todo o governo empurrou a AGU de bode expiatório em relação à concepção desse decreto e sua ousada e intempestiva publicação. Luís Inácio Adams teve naturalmente que entubar. Dificilmente, com tal nível de passividade, vai ter peso político para ser indicado ao STF, como sói acontecer com advogados-gerais.

Os índios ligados às associações indígenas, sob o guarda-chuva da APIB, também falaram com uma só voz. São uníssonos porque seu discurso é aprendido nas falas do CIMI e de outras ONGs. Não têm as sutilezas étnicas das lideranças de raiz, que falam o que aprenderam a partir de sua vivências, errando na concordância aqui e acolá, mas vocalizando um destemor natural. Muito diferente da fala dos índios Kayapó e Xavante, por exemplo. No seu discurso são violentamente, inapelavelmente, irredutivelmente contra o Decreto 303. Declararam que só aceitariam voltar a participar do CNPI quando o decreto fosse revogado. Ora, lembro aqui, no ano passado, quando receberam um bolo do então presidente, disseram que só voltariam ao CNPI se fossem recebidos pela presidente Dilma Rousseff. Não o foram, mas voltaram ao CNPI esse ano, a pedido e sob o comando da presidente Marta Azevedo. O CNPI, aliás, já é visto como um corroborador do que o governo quer fazer, como a reestruturação da Funai, por exemplo, ou a criação de um grupo de controle de terras indígenas, o tal PNGATI.

Tomo a liberdade de criticar o discurso dos índios de associações porque eles precisam se libertar da tutela das ONGs e do CIMI. Eles deixaram de apoiar seus confrades em 2010 por ocasião dos protestos contra o Decreto 7056, a horrível desestruturação da Funai, porque estavam videntemente presos na gaiola ideológica das ONGs, que eram a favor da desestruturação da FUNAI.

Que aproveitem essa ocasião de agora, radical em muitos aspectos e crucial para a sobrevivência da FUNAI como órgão de assistência aos índios, para se libertar dessa tutela. É uma tutela aparentemente fiel, determinada, radical, mas que tem sua própria agenda e desígnios. Elaboram um discurso inflamado contra o governo, enquanto, nos bastidores, já estão negociando a revogação do Decreto em conversas com gente da Secretaria de Governo e da própria AGU. Tenebrosas transações…

A recepção dada pelos referidos ministros foi uma concessão ao movimento indígena lato sensu. Índios de raiz, índios de associações, indigenistas da Funai e missionários do CIMI tiveram uma vitória certa. Ao final, o advogado-geral sinalizou que iria pensar sobre a revogação do Decreto 303. Falou suave e manso, e aproveitou a ocasião para dizer que tinha ficado sensibilizado com a fala de Raoni. Todo mundo quer tirar uma casquinha com Raoni!

Pode ser que o Governo esteja ganhando tempo, enrolando todo mundo, enquanto prepara outro bode para botar na sala. Porém, o Governo sentiu a força desse movimento indigenista. Recebeu a todos porque não lhes restava alternativa. O caldo contrário estava engrossando em demasia.
Revogar ou inventar outro bode, outra ação para enfurecer a todos nós e continuar mandando e desmandando doidivanamente na questão indígena?

Acho que vai revogar e negociar o bode da reestruturação. Com isso divide o movimento indigenista atual, já que o CIMI nem liga para a reestruturação da FUNAI, pois nisso está junto com as ONGs que conceberam esse projeto. Acabar ou fazer esquecer a história do SPI e da FUNAI é um dos grandes propósitos dos que praticam um indigenismo anti-rondoniano na atualidade. Aí há mais gente nesse fronte do que os que estão na luta neste momento. Nisso estão de acordo com os fazendeiros.

Aí é que está. A luta pela autonomia do movimento indígena, pela ascensão de índios na Funai e no panorama político-cultural brasileiro vai continuar. A vitória de hoje, no Auditório do MJ, é só uma batalha.

Incidente diplomático marca o encontro entre ministra e índios do Xingu

Friday, August 31st, 2012
Ana de Hollanda (à direita), durante o ritual sagrado para os índios, do qual ela se ausentou sem explicação  (Iano Andrade/CB/DA Press)
Ana de Hollanda (à direita), durante o ritual sagrado para os índios, do qual ela se ausentou sem explicação

Parque Nacional do Xingu (MT) – A participação da ministra da Cultura, Ana de Hollanda, no Quarup, ritual fúnebre sagrado para os índios do Parque Nacional do Xingu, ocorrido durante o fim de semana, ficou marcado por um incidente diplomático. No fim da tarde de sábado, pouco antes da tradicional fila que reúne as etnias para seus cantos divinos, ela foi convidada a sentar-se diante da Casa dos Homens, no centro da aldeia da etnia Yawalapiti, onde permaneceu conversando com o cacique Aritana. Porém, assim que um assessor soube da intenção dos indígenas de entregar um manifesto à representante do governo, a ministra acabou retirada da roda e abrigou-se na oca na qual estava hospedada.

Os indígenas pretendiam entregar à ministra uma carta de protesto contra medidas do governo federal que, na avaliação deles, tiram a autonomia dos grupos étnicos brasileiros. A titular da Cultura, porém, simplesmente deu as costas, sem nada explicar, aos que estavam presentes na cerimônia considerada um dos rituais mais sagrados para os povos do Xingu. A saída abrupta de Ana de Hollanda do Quarup deixou os indígenas, em um primeiro momento, sem entender o que estava acontecendo. Depois, ficou visível a irritação dos povos da floresta. Na carta, as etnias protestavam contra a usina hidrelétrica de Belo Monte, cuja obra recentemente foi embargada pelo Tribunal Regional Federal da 1ª Região.

…..

Manifesto dos ervidores da Funai em GREVE – apoiando povos indigenas do Ato Xingu contra portaria 303, Belo Monte, PEC 215

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Brasília, 20 de Agosto de 2012.

Às Lideranças do Xingu

Nós, servidores da Funai em GREVE, manifestamos à todos os povos do Xingu nosso apoio e solidariedade diante da intenção das lideranças indígenas de entregar à Ministra da Cultura Ana de Holanda uma carta de protesto contrária às medidas do governo federal expressas na portaria 303 da AGU, na construção de Belo Monte e na PEC 215.

Infelizmente, nos últimos anos, o governo federal não tem dialogado e nem consultado os povos indígenas em decisões importantes que dizem respeito à sua segurança física e cultural. Inclusive tendo modificado, sem diálogo e transparência também junto aos servidores, a estrutura do órgão indigenista oficial através dos Decretos 7.056/09 e 7.778/12, dificultando o cumprimento de sua missão institucional em defesa dos povos indígenas.

Atenciosamente,

Servidores da Funai em GREVE

Portaria 303: lá vem remendo

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Egon Heck

“Não tenho problema em revisar a portaria. Ainda falta quase um mês em que ela continuará suspensa. Vou refletir, precisamos de decisões e soluções definitivas. O Supremo Tribunal Federal tem que tomar uma decisão”. Foi nessa linha a fala do ministro da AGU, Luis Inácio Adams ao se dirigir aos indígenas reunidos no Ministério da Justiça, nesta manhã, do dia 29 de agosto. Sob pedido unânime das lideranças indígenas pela revogação da Portaria 303, ele apenas reafirmou que a portaria é apenas uma reprodução do que disse o Supremo Tribunal Federal.

Instalados em confortáveis cadeira do auditório do Ministério da Justiça, a delegação indígena de Goiás, Tocantins, representantes da Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (APIB) e da Comissão de Política Indigenista (CNPI), foram ouvidos pelo Ministro da Justiça, José Eduardo Cardoso; o ministro da AGU, Luis Inácio Adams, além de representantes da Secretaria Especial da Presidência da República e da Funai.

Remendar uma portaria inconstitucional e anti-indígena não é possível. Qualquer tentativa de alterar a portaria, só faria piorar a situação.

Rasgue, revogue, queime, acabe com essa portaria

“Nós não queremos essa porcaria, de jeito nenhum, isso aí não é justo, porque querem acabar com a gente”, disseram inúmeras vezes as lideranças indígenas. Lembraram ao ministro Adams que a portaria é inconstitucional e que é função da AGU defender os interesses da União, e que as terras indígenas são da União e que, portanto ao invés entregar nossas terras e abrir para a exploração, demarquem e as protejam. “Essa portaria é a morte dos povos indígenas. Deixem-nos viver em paz. Estão aumentando as violências contra nossos povos”

Os indígenas pediram a imediata revogação da portaria (porcaria). E mais do que isso “rasgue ela. Diga isso pra nós. Isso não é justo. Não aceitamos a portaria”, disse Maria das Flores Kraho, gesticulando indignadamente.

Os indígenas ainda registraram sua indignação pelo desrespeito com que foram tratados “nós não somos bandidos. Precisava chamar quinhentos policiais? Porque fecharam as portas na AGU e no Ministério da saúde?, clamou Antonio Apinajé.

Essa portaria em muito se assemelha à proposta de “emancipação indígena”, proposta pelo general Rangel Reis, então Ministro do Interior, em 1976. A verdadeira intenção era emancipar as terras indígenas e em 20 anos ver um Brasil livre de índios. A reação dos povos indígenas e de seus aliados em nível nacional e internacional foi imediata e contundente. Apesar da resistência, após rasgarem o projeto numa Assembleia Indígena nacional, realizada em Goiás Velho, o então ministro sepultou definitivamente seu projeto. Espera-se o mesmo do ministro da AGU, com relação à portaria 303.

Saúde fechada

Depois da reunião oito povos indígenas de Goiás e Tocantins permanecerem por mais de duas horas diante das portas trancadas e finalmente foram convidados a conversar com funcionários do terceiro escalão. Uma delegação foi para a conversa com os funcionários da Sesai. Permaneceram por quase cinco horas colocando suas reivindicações diante do descaso do órgão e da dramática situação da saúde na maioria das aldeias.

Diante das evasivas e argumentações inconsistentes dos funcionários do órgão, as lideranças indígenas saíram do diálogo profundamente decepcionados e revoltados.

Para o cacique Marcos Xukuru, foi desrespeitosa a forma como a Sesai tratou a delegação indígena “coloca um substituto já com a intenção de que nada se resolva, que tudo fique como está. Acho negativa e desrespeitosa a atuação da Sesai”. A mesma impressão foi manifestada pelas lideranças dos povos indígenas de Goiás e Tocantins. Em função disso estão solicitando uma audiência com o Ministro da Saúde, para pedir algumas providências urgentes, inclusive com a substituição de funcionários da região.

No Senado, sinal fechado

A delegação de mais de 50 indígenas está vendo com muita preocupação a forma como vem sendo tratados nos diversos espaços em que têm reivindicado seus direitos e exigido respostas aos grandes desafios, violências e invasões que sofrem em seus territórios. Chama atenção o grande número de policiais que “cuidam e vigiam” a delegação indígena. Para eles isso é um desrespeito, pois eles sempre têm recebido muito bem as autoridades em suas aldeias. Aqui são tratados com desconfiança e até preconceitos.

No Senado, policiais insistiram em manter os indígenas sob forte sol enquanto faziam gestões e negociações para permitir a entrada nessa casa legislativa (que teoricamente é a casa do povo, e por razão ainda mais forte, de seus primeiros habitantes). Nenhum senador veio recepcioná-los, porém foi permitido a uma pequena delegação a entrar na casa. Enquanto isso, no lado de fora os indígenas foram se acomodando, sentados ou deitados, aguardando alguma sinalização. Ficaram agendadas as visitas para alguns gabinetes. A grande preocupação é quanto os efeitos danosos da portaria 303, e da PEC 038, que tramita no senado e que pretende tirar a decisão sobre a demarcação das terras indígenas do poder executivo e submetê-lo aos senadores. O que significaria a inviabilização das terras indígenas.


False Alarm: 80 Yanomami NOT massacred in southern Venezuela

Friday, August 31st, 2012

By Rebecca Sommer

According to Leaders of the Horonami Yanomami Organization of Venezuela, at Yanomami village Irotatheri, goldminers suddenly positioned their helicopter on top of their shabono of about 80 peoples, on the 5th of July, and shot down explosives.

The remains were charred and were not identified, they said in their statement, that was doublicated by the news and other NGOs, such as IWGIA.

nomami women from Paapiu Novo, Brazil (Photo©Rebecca Sommer)

Yanomami women from Paapiu Novo, Brazil (Photo©Rebecca Sommer)

They also informed that the conflict arose in Venezuela at the (southern) border with Brazil already days earlier , when the gold miners’ that are claimed to be from Brazil, took a woman (Yanomami) by force to their campsite, and that the indigenous Yanomami rescued.

The organization HOY reported the alleged attack against the Attorney General, the Ombudsman and the military, and urged both governments, Brazil and Venezuela, to create a binational commission to investigate the facts and expel once and for all the miners.

The Indigenous organizations of the Amazonas of Venezuela (Coiam) did not confirm that the massacre took place, but said that since 2009 they received reports of assaults by artisanal gold and diamond miners against Yanomami communities that have been victims of physical violence, threats, abduction of women and water contamination with mercury, which is the gruesome fact also for the Yanomami in state Roraimia, Brazil.

But it seems that the story of this massacre of 80 Yanomami is not true.  Yanomami from Venezuela and Brazil warned the author that HAY’s accusations might be a false and created for political reasons. That they haven’t heard anything that would confirm that the massacre took place.

It was also claimed that Marcos de Oliveira from Brazil’s Socioenvironmental Institute (ISA) told the Caracas daily El Nacional that an injured survivor from Irotatheri reached a Yanomami shabono on the Brazilian side of the border, where he was given medical assistance and was taken in by relatives in another community.

Talking to Marcos directly by cellphone (former director CCPY-Roraimia) he did not confirm the story from the  Caracas daily El Nacional, and said that he has no knowledge of a survivor, and that he doubts that the massacre has happened, based on his information.

Now, clearly, the gold miners must be removed from the area. In both countries, Brazil and Venezuela. Maybe, for this reason,  to raise awareness about the plight of Yanomami to get the miners out of their areas,  the story in the news was useful.

But shame on any human rights organization,  that creates untrue stories for whatever reasons – making it more difficult for those that are trying to report real incidents, and to engage the UN system and states to do something against reported human rights violations.

Durban Platform: Bangkok climate session likely to be contentious

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Bangkok, 30 August (Meena Raman) – The Bangkok session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform (ADP) under the UNFCCC is expected to see a contentious and wide range of views from Parties on the “vision” for the outcome of this body tasked with coming up with either a “protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force” by 2015, in order to implement climate actions from 2020 onwards.

The ADP session will take place from 30 August to 5 September, 2012, in conjunction with the meetings of the other two Ad Hoc Working Groups under the UNFCCC’s Bali Action Plan and the Kyoto Protocol.

The UNFCCC principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in the context of the 2015 outcome is expected to be a key issue of debate in the ADP. Many developing countries have stressed the principle’s continued relevance and importance while developed countries led by the US refer to “changing circumstances and evolving commitments” of some major developing countries such as China, India and others perceived as “major emitters”, thus undermining the principle.

The Co-chairs of the ADP, Dr. J. Mauskar (India) and Mr. Harald Dovland (Norway) have issued a note on 7 August to Parties indicating how they would conduct the Bangkok session and have planned discussions on the “principles of the Convention”.

The note in this regard states that the Co-chairs plan “…to encourage a focused discussion on the elements that could frame the work of the ADP, especially how Parties envisage giving effect to the principles of the Convention in the results of the ADP’s work.”

“Many Parties have underlined the importance of the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in this context. This discussion could be informed by the workshop on equitable access to sustainable development that was held in Bonn on 16 May 2012. A roundtable discussion on this topic is planned for the second half of the session,” said the information note from the Co-chairs.

In May, at its inaugural session in Bonn, the adoption of the ADP agenda and the election of the Co-chairs proved highly charged and difficult, given that this is a new body established after the UNFCCC’s 17th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) in Durban, with varying interpretations among Parties on what the key paragraphs of the Durban Platform decision means.

In the agenda that was adopted, two workstreams were initiated – one addressing matters related to paragraphs 2 to 6 of the Durban Platform decision (decision 1/CP.17) and another addressing matters related to paragraphs 7 to 8 of that same decision. (Paragraphs 2 to 6 relate to the agreed outcome envisaged for the post-2020 climate regime while paragraphs 7 to 8 relate to enhancing the mitigation ambition in the pre-2020 time frame.)

The Co-chairs in their note state that “an informal additional session of the ADP … in Bangkok, … provides a valuable opportunity to prepare for the resumed first session of the ADP to be held in Doha in November.”

The Co-chairs have indicated that discussions will be organized in a manner that “facilitates interactive dialogue, through use of a roundtable format, in several parts over the course of the session. The open and inclusive interactive discussions, which we will co-chair jointly, will be open to all Parties and observer organizations”.

“Having considered the submissions and views expressed by Parties”, the Co-chairs have “proposed to structure the discussion in Bangkok as follows:

(a) Vision for the ADP: We will invite Parties to share and explore their vision and aspirations for the ADP, the results of its work and how these results are to be achieved. It would be particularly useful if Parties could outline how they envisage the broad contours and features of the protocol, another legal instrument, or agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties. This roundtable discussion will be initiated at the beginning of the session.

(b) Ambition: We would also like to deepen the discussion on how to enhance ambition, with the aim of building a better understanding of the mitigation gap and the opportunities to bridge that gap, the role of the means of implementation, and how to strengthen international cooperative initiatives.”

The Co-chairs “will prepare summaries of the discussions under our own responsibility and make these available after the session on the UNFCCC web site.”

In response to an invitation by the Co-chairs following the May Bonn session to provide additional inputs regarding the work of the ADP, several countries have made submissions and this included Brazil, India, the US, the European Union, and Chile and Colombia (jointly).

Brazil in its submission proposed that Parties should proceed with exploratory work to identify topics with greater potential for convergence and concentrate discussions on selected issues. It believed that the central outcome of the Durban Platform should be the development of a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties for it to come into effect and be implemented from 2020, in accordance with decision 1/CP.17 (the Durban Platform decision).

“In planning the work of the ADP, Parties will need to carefully consider issues arising from the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) that may have to be further addressed after both Ad Hoc Working Group are terminated in Doha. While decisions reached under the AWG-LCA and the AWG-KP should not be revisited by the ADP, unsolved issues under their mandates might need to be forwarded to the Durban Platform or to the permanent subsidiary bodies, the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), said the Brazilian submission.

Brazil added that “it is also important to acknowledge that future negotiations on the legal form of the Durban Platform’s agreed outcome could have implications on the legal form of issues already concluded in other subsidiary bodies. These implications would need to be addressed by the ADP, before it presents its final results to the Conference of the Parties.”

It also stressed that the “work of the ADP shall be in full accordance with all the principles and provisions of the Convention, in particular the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. These principles must be reflected in all aspects of the agenda of the ADP and of the Durban Platform’s final outcome.”

India in its submission re-emphasized that “work of the ADP shall be in full accordance with all the principles and provisions of the Convention, in particular the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.”

It believed that the “immediate work under ADP is to create an environment, which is conducive to discussions on development of a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties. Therefore, the work of the ADP till COP-18 should focus on identifying the issues that should inform the Durban Platform in this regard.”

For India, the workstream for addressing the post 2020 regime (matters related to paragraphs 2-6 of decision 1/CP.17) “should facilitate discussions on substantive issues, particularly the principles underlying the Durban Platform and the manner in which these principles will be applied. These discussions should be open-ended to capture a wide range of views and to identify the broad areas of convergence. The work should progress sequentially and not in parallel on various aspects of ADP work. This will enhance efficiency of the process and help in achievement of objectives. The work in initial stages should build around defining the scope of work and clearly identifying the deliverables. It may be pre-mature to discuss timelines or milestones even before the substantive issues are identified and discussed.”

On the workstream for addressing matters related to paragraphs 7-8 of the Durban Platform decision, India was of the view that it “should not be mitigation-centric. It should address the issues related to both mitigation and means of implementation in a balanced manner to comprehensively address the ambition gap.”

The submission also states that “the work of ADP will need to be planned in a manner that it can build on the work of AWG-LCA and AWG-KP, though without revisiting the earlier decisions. Further, the issues that may not get resolved under these AWGs may need to be taken on board by the ADP or the permanent subsidiary bodies, the SBI and SBSTA.”

The United States focussed its submission on advancing work on the 2015 agreement. It saw “the early stages of the ADP process as providing a valuable opportunity to lay the conceptual groundwork for the agreement.”

“While the (UN)FCCC Parties have experience in developing a legal agreement applicable to some Parties (to the Kyoto Protocol) and a non-legal agreement applicable to all Parties (Canc๚n), they do not have experience developing a legal agreement applicable to all Parties. The successful development of such an agreement is perhaps the greatest challenge that the Parties have faced to date,” states the US submission.

“Given the challenges, we think ‘progress’ in the negotiations should be measured not by whether treaty texts have been put on the table but by whether we are exploring the key issues, testing ideas, deepening our understanding of each other’s perspectives, and narrowing differences…Text can easily be written once conceptual agreement is reached or close at hand. The Bangkok meeting could be very useful in promoting conceptual exploration if it employs the right formats and focuses on the right issues,” said the US.

On substance, the US wanted a number of key issues that should be addressed at this early stage as follows: – “How should the agreement be designed so as to recognize the economic development and emissions realities of the time period in question, i.e., post-2020? While all Parties cannot be expected to undertake the same type/level of mitigation action, much more commonality will be necessary not only for actions themselves but also for measurement, reporting, review, and other forms of accountability. What are the implications for the approach to the Annexes?

How should the agreement be designed so as to be “applicable to all Parties” (and attract their participation in fact) while also promoting ambition?

To what extent can we avoid re-inventing the wheel by relying on institutional arrangements and procedures already launched in Cancun/Durban? Would refinements be necessary to address the new time period? Do all elements listed in paragraph 5 of the Durban Platform need to be part of the agreement per se or just part of the 2015 package? ”  (Paragraph 5 of the decision agreed that the ADP “shall plan its work in the first half of 2012, including, inter alia, on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, transparency of action, and support and capacity-building…”)

How can the agreement be designed so as to be a living, breathing instrument that can capture changing circumstances and evolving commitments? ”

Cyprus, in a submission on behalf of the European Union said that on the workstream on the 2015 agreement stressed “two urgent priorities – (i) to commence substantive discussions; and (ii) agree on a workplan for delivering the 2015 agreement.

The EU submission states that “the workplan to deliver the 2015 agreement should be as streamlined as possible and should be based around the high level elements identified in paragraph 5 of decision 1/CP.17

According to the EU, it does not think it will be possible at this early stage to reach consensus on substantive elaboration of those elements. “As such the workplan to be developed under your guidance should focus on the process leading to the adoption of an agreement in 2015.”

In an earlier submission to the UNFCCC in April this year, the EU said that “in order to give a context to our deliberations it is important to have a collective vision regarding what we are working towards.”  For the EU, it was for a “new protocol” that “could contain the following main elements: overall objectives; mitigation and accounting (including market mechanisms); compliance; adaptation; means of implementation (finance, technology transfer, capacity building); transparency of action and support; mitigation review and simplified ways to raise ambition”.

In relation to the workstream on pre-2020 mitigation ambition, the EU wants to accelerate efforts “to enhance pre 2020 mitigation ambition and ensure that the ambition process delivers in Doha recommendations that build political momentum including by launching concrete complementary initiatives that will deliver action to close the gap.”

Chile and Colombia provided a joint-submission. In relation to the workstream on the 2015 agreement, they want the first element to deal with ‘legal matters’, relating to the architecture of the new regime viz. the legal form of the instrument to be agreed upon; the nature of commitments within that instrument; and the enforcement procedures contained in the instrument. The second element they want addressed is the ‘operationalization of mitigation’, which involves the method of defining mitigation commitments in the context of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities with a specific target or commitment for each country as a result; accounting and transparency of action; support, including finance for mitigation, technology transfer, capacity building and the measuring reporting and verification (MRV) of support for mitigation; and market mechanisms, including the use of existing mechanisms and the creation of! new ones, if necessary. The third element relates to the operationalization of adaptation.

Just a few months away from the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) 18 in Doha, Qatar

Thursday, August 30th, 2012
(Bangkok , August 30, 2012)– Hopes for meaningful outcomes that would lead to collective efforts by the international community to address climate change were echoed by developing countries at the opening of the international climate negotiations at the UNESCAP in Bangkok, Thailand.
Over the next week, the Bangkok Intersessionals will see intense discussions  contentious issues around the ‘Durban Platform’ which calls for a second period of commitments under the Kyoto Protocol (starting January 1,2013 and ending in December 31 2017 or 2020) for developed countries to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
At the opening plenary Madame Rose Diouf, Chair of the Ad hoc Working Group on Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) welcomed delegates, and said that as it was just a few months away from the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) 18 in Doha, Qatar, Parties need to successfully complete the work and ‘start exploring areas of compromise as to reach a solution.’

Strong statements were delivered by the G77/China as well as by other groups, to highlight the urgency of finding a resolution to the current debates at the negotiations. Some of the key areas of contention include: (a) low levels of ambition reflected as global goals for reduction of emissions; (b) a disagreement over having a 5 or 8 year second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2KP); (c) legal and political issues pertaining to the transition period, among others.

The Africa Group raised its concerns over attempts to have low levels of ambition for the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, and appealed for Parties to take aholistic approach in dealing with all related issues.
The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) said that results of the climate negotiations must be ambitious, credible, and inspirational to the international community. It must also address unresolved issues around ambition (which are inadequate and inconsistent with the 1.5 degree temperature increase that science says is the limit to prevent catastrophic climate change), and stressed that even a higher level of ambition is still‘economically feasible for all Annex 1 countries.’

The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) meanwhile called on developed country Parties to submit their mitigation pledges (referred to as QELROS or Quantified Emission Limitation and Reduction Objectives) and stressed that the adoption of a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol was not only a political imperative but a legal obligation as well.

The Arab Group stated that the Kyoto Protocol is one of the main foundations of the globaleffort to address climate change. Durban reached an agreement for a second commitment period, and therefore it is necessary for Annex 1 countries to establish their commitments. Parties who withdrew from a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol must also be asked to provide ambitious targets for emissions reductions.

Meanwhile, Venezuela, speaking for the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), reminded Parties that every treaty is binding and must be performed in good faith. It challenged developed countries to honor their historical responsibilities in solidarity with humankind and with Mother Earth, and that now is a historic moment to show worldwide leadership in the face of adversity. The ALBA countries also had this to say to developed country Parties as regards the Durban Package: ‘it is not realistic nor ethical to think to ask of others what we are not willing to do ourselves’.

The BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) countries expressed concern over the level of ambition, which is far below what is required by science from Annex 1 countries. It called on developed country Parties to ‘enhance the environmental integrity’ of the Kyoto Protocol’s 2nd commitment period. Similarly, the Coalition of Rainforest Nations, i.e. developing countries with rainforests, urged Parties to secure a ‘solid and ambitious agreement in Doha.’
The statement delivered by Philippines on behalf of the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC), a group of 38 countries within the G77/China bloc, drove home the message that a meaningful, substantial and effective Kyoto Protocol 2nd commitment period should be the centerpiece and focus of work for the Bangkok Intersessionals, and that Kyoto Protocol should be the ‘key deliverable’ for Doha. It stressed the need for ambitious aggregate emissions for Annex 1 countries in accordance with historical responsibility consistent with science, and warned of already low pledges (of developed countries) possibly being undermined by accounting loopholes that would ultimately result in no net contribution to emissions reduction.

At around midday, groups from different organizations and social movements from Thailand and different parts of the world held a demonstration in front of the ESCAP building. The groups called on the rich industrialized countries to fulfill their existing legally binding commitments and undertake drastic emissions cuts without offsets and loopholes. ### (Tetet Nera-Lauron, Bangkok)

Chronic 2000-04 drought, worst in 800 years, may be the ‘new normal’

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Oregon State University

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The chronic drought that hit western North America from 2000 to 2004 left dying forests and depleted river basins in its wake and was the strongest in 800 years, scientists have concluded, but they say those conditions will become the “new normal” for most of the coming century.

Such climatic extremes have increased as a result of global warming, a group of 10 researchers reported today in Nature Geoscience. And as bad as conditions were during the 2000-04 drought, they may eventually be seen as the good old days.

Climate models and precipitation projections indicate this period will actually be closer to the “wet end” of a drier hydroclimate during the last half of the 21st century, scientists said.

Aside from its impact on forests, crops, rivers and water tables, the drought also cut carbon sequestration by an average of 51 percent in a massive region of the western United States, Canada and Mexico, although some areas were hit much harder than others. As vegetation withered, this released more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, with the effect of amplifying global warming.

“Climatic extremes such as this will cause more large-scale droughts and forest mortality, and the ability of vegetation to sequester carbon is going to decline,” said Beverly Law, a co-author of the study, professor of global change biology and terrestrial systems science at Oregon State University, and former science director of AmeriFlux, an ecosystem observation network.

“During this drought, carbon sequestration from this region was reduced by half,” Law said.  “That’s a huge drop. And if global carbon emissions don’t come down, the future will be even worse.”

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation, NASA, U.S. Department of Energy, and other agencies. The lead author was Christopher Schwalm at Northern Arizona University. Other collaborators were from the University of Colorado, University of California at Berkeley, University of British Columbia, San Diego State University, and other institutions.

It’s not clear whether or not the current drought in the Midwest, now being called one of the worst since the Dust Bowl, is related to these same forces, Law said. This study did not address that, and there are some climate mechanisms in western North America that affect that region more than other parts of the country.

But in the West, this multi-year drought was unlike anything seen in many centuries, based on tree ring data. The last two periods with drought events of similar severity were in the Middle Ages, from 977-981 and 1146-1151. The 2000-04 drought affected precipitation, soil moisture, river levels, crops, forests and grasslands.

Ordinarily, Law said, the land sink in North America is able to sequester the equivalent of about 30 percent of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere by the use of fossil fuels in the same region. However, based on projected changes in precipitation and drought severity, scientists said that this carbon sink, at least in western North America, could disappear by the end of the century.

“Areas that are already dry in the West are expected to get drier,” Law said. “We expect more extremes. And it’s these extreme periods that can really cause ecosystem damage, lead to climate-induced mortality of forests, and may cause some areas to convert from forest into shrublands or grassland.”

During the 2000-04 drought, runoff in the upper Colorado River basin was cut in half. Crop productivity in much of the West fell 5 percent.  The productivity of forests and grasslands declined, along with snowpacks.  Evapotranspiration decreased the most in evergreen needleleaf forests, about 33 percent.

The effects are driven by human-caused increases in temperature, with associated lower soil moisture and decreased runoff in all major water basins of the western U.S., researchers said in the study.

Although regional precipitations patterns are difficult to forecast, researchers in this report said that climate models are underestimating the extent and severity of drought, compared to actual observations. They say the situation will continue to worsen, and that 80 of the 95 years from 2006 to 2100 will have precipitation levels as low as, or lower than, this “turn of the century” drought from 2000-04.

“Towards the latter half of the 21st century the precipitation regime associated with the turn of the century drought will represent an outlier of extreme wetness,” the scientists wrote in this study.

These long-term trends are consistent with a 21st century “megadrought,” they said.

Editor’s Note: A digital image of dying forests

in the Southwest is available to illustrate this

story: http://bit.ly/OO9Hsr

Contact: Beverly Law

bev.law@oregonstate.edu

541-737-6111

Methane’s Contribution to Global Warming is Worse than You Thought

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

BY JASON MARK

To tackle climate change, we need more honest accounting of this potent greenhouse gas

“Methane is 21 times more heat-trapping that carbon dioxide.” If you’re a frequent reader of environmental websites, no doubt you’ve seen some version of that sentence many times. The “twenty-times” figure is the most common way of explaining how methane (or CH4, or uncombusted natural gas) reacts in the atmosphere.

Just one problem: It’s not entirely accurate — at least not in the time-scale we should be using to think about how to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

Actually, any CH4 released today is at least 56 times more heat-trapping than a molecule of C02 also released today. And because of the way it reacts in the atmosphere, the number is probably even higher, according to research conducted by Drew Shindell, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Center. So why is the 21 times figure the one that gets bandied about? Because methane breaks down much faster than carbon dioxide. While CO2 remains in the atmosphere for at least a century (and probably much, much longer, according to Stanford’s Ken Caldeira), CH4 lasts only about a dozen years. When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had to come up with a way for comparing different greenhouse gases, it decided to use a century baseline to calculate a molecule’s “global warming potential.”

See this graph on global warming potential values for some key GHGs by the GHG Management Institute (you’ll have to scroll down a bit to get to it)

While these various comparisons are well understood by climatologists and climate change policy wonks, I’m guessing they’re not that well known among the general public.

Why does it matter? Because we don’t have a century to get serious about the impacts of runaway greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is upon us now. And we appear to be approaching some irrevocable tipping points that will create powerful negative feedback loops, the most worrisome being the release of methane stores at the bottom of the ocean and locked into sub-Arctic permafrost.

Carbon dioxide’s longevity means that the warming we’re experiencing now is actually the result of fossil fuel burning that happened a generation ago. And the emissions we’re causing today won’t be felt for decades to come. At our current rate of emissions, we’ll be toast 100 years from now.

What if we were to use the IPCC’s 20-year comparison instead of its 100-year comparison? For starters, it would force us to get much more serious about tackling  the sources of methane emissions. Here in the US, the top methane sources are the decomposition of wastes in landfills, agriculture (from ruminant digestion), and leaks from natural gas drilling and transmission. A new emphasis on methane would require us to get smarter about capturing methane at landfills, reduce the market incentives that encourage Americans’ meat-heavy diets, and ensure that methane isn’t leaking from fracking operations.

But beyond the policy specifics, adopting the 20-year global warming potential comparisons would be useful for changing how we think about climate change.

In his much discussed Rolling Stone essay, Bill McKibben lays out three numbers everyone should know to understand the global warming threat. Two degrees centigrade — the global average temperature increase we dare not cross; 565 gigatons — the amount of CO2 we can afford to emit and still stay within that temperature; and 2,795 gigagtons of C02 — the amount of fossil fuel reserves we know we have. But there are some numbers McKibben neglected: the numbers on the calendar, figures like 2022, 2032, 2112. These are just as important to keep in mind. If scientists and policy makers (and journalists and advocates) continue use a century-mark to measure and compare emissions, well then it seems like we have plenty of time; complacency remains an option. If we use the 20-year measurements, the immediacy of the global warming threat is more apparent.

We’re running out of time, and the luxury of fudging the numbers. Which is reason enough for me to start making sure that whenever I’m writing about methane emissions, I’ll be using a different set of figures from now on.