Equity and social justice should be at the heart of the Copenhagen agreement on climate change
Strasbourg, 29.09.2009 – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) believes that the United Nations Conference on Climate Change to be held in Copenhagen in December 2009, should result in an agreement giving priority to equity and social justice. While the Assembly recognises the need to reach agreement in Copenhagen on a significant reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for each country – at least 50% by 2050 compared with 1990 levels – it supports, in a resolution adopted today, an equitable and differentiated approach that takes due account of a country’s population, industrial development and poverty.
The least developed countries, with limited capacity and resources for adapting to climate change, will be the most affected, although they are the ones which have contributed least to global warming, notes John Prescott (United Kingdom, SOC), PACE rapporteur on this subject. The developed countries will therefore have to take a strong lead to initiate deep and early cuts in GHG emissions, on the assumption that emission limits will be set at the same level for all countries by 2050 (the equivalent of two tonnes of CO2 per capita).
PACE calls on member states to negotiate a series of measures to form part of the future global agreement, including a commitment to research and development and sharing of new technologies.
The Assembly also recommends that the Committee of Ministers make climate change one of its core priorities and consider drafting new protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights enshrining the right to a healthy and viable environment as a human right. “We are all responsible for ensuring our children, and their children, inherit a sustainable planet,” said Mr Prescott during the debate. “It is only right that this goal be enshrined as a human right, since it is part of the right to live freely in peace and security – the very reason why the Council of Europe was set up sixty years ago.”
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