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4 Dec, 2007

New Rules Needed For Global Economies, Says Civil Society

A statement co-signed by just under 100 members of civil society, including politicians, scientists, academics, unionists, journalists, was released in Bali on December 3. It calls for a “truly transformational change in the global economy” with a whole new set of rules, incentives, and institutions that will “transition our villages, cities, countries, and world toward socially just and ecologically sound economies.”

A series of dispatches on the UNFCCC climate change conference in Bali.

In this dispatch:








[The following statement, co-signed by just under 100 members of civil society, including politicians, scientists, academics, unionists, journalists, etc. was released in Bali on December 3. It calls for a “truly transformational change in the global economy” with a whole new set of rules, incentives, and institutions that will “transition our villages, cities, countries, and world toward socially just and ecologically sound economies.” The text is worth reading in full, along with the list of signatories at the bottom.].


We, the undersigned, call on governments, businesses, civil society, and the other institutions that set the rules of our economies to lead a systemic shift to stabilize our global climate by launching a global economic and energy transition.

The December 3-14, 2008 meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali, Indonesia, aims to agree on a mandate to negotiate a framework that will succeed the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol when it ends in 2012. We welcome UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon’s recently reminding climate negotiators that, during the high-level event on climate change that convened in New York on 24 September 2007, world leaders made a strong call for negotiations to begin on a future comprehensive multilateral framework.

Bali must begin a pathway toward new global agreements that recognize and operate within our planet’s limits and equitably share its ecological space. Our concern is that the scope and scale of the proposals being discussed dangerously underestimate the challenges confronting us and remain far from addressing the underlying causes of today’s climate crisis.

We support the goal of creating deeper binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at the very least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, on average with solutions that place the greatest burden of adjustment on the richer nations, and the richer segments within all nations.

Achieving these targets will involve dynamic actions at every level of our societies, with rich countries leading through commitments to cut emissions by increasing energy efficiency and reducing overall energy use (“powering down”), while at the same time enabling poorer nations to leapfrog over the rich nations’ dirty model of development to one that is equitable and sustainable.

Adequate and equitable reductions in emissions require a fundamental reordering of priorities and the transformation of almost every aspect of the way we live. Today’s situation is desperate; for the full dimensions of the multiple crises we face, plus an outline of the necessary corrective steps, see the International Forum on Globalization and the Institute for Policy Studies’, “Manifesto on Global Economic Transitions” (September 2007, see www.ifg.org).

To cut overall consumption while improving standards of living for the poor, we cannot get to where we need to be within 40 years by using current development models, measurements of economic growth, or today’s outdated rules governing trade, technology transfer, investment, and finance.

Coherence in policies at both the national and international levels is essential to any meaningful multilateral effort. Immediate actions are urgently needed within the existing institutions, but we also have to rethink and transform global governance. New international instruments are needed.

To create the truly transformational change in the global economy we call on governments to include in the forthcoming Bali Mandate a work program to re-write the much-needed rules, incentives, and institutions in order to transition our villages, cities, countries, and world toward socially just and ecologically sound economies.

This parallel track of talks must acknowledge that the globe’s environmental challenges are multifaceted and intertwined. They involve at their core the challenges of climate chaos, the end of cheap energy, accelerating species extinctions, and collapse in fresh water, fisheries, forests, and other vital natural resources and natural systems. Solutions to each should be solutions to all.

These changes should aim to redefine development, and abandon economic growth as a primary goal. They must also drastically reduce consumption of energy and others resources, materials, and commodities, especially among northern industrialized nations. Incentives for conservation and re-localizing ownership, production and consumption are the fastest, cheapest most efficient means toward “powering down.”

We support movements toward subsidiarity that shift power away from global and national governance, and toward local economies, especially energy and food systems, as much as possible.

In addition to national governmental representatives, this track of negotiations should involve local officials, social movement leaders, indigenous leaders, and thoughtful innovators of new ideas on renewable energy and sustainable forestry and agriculture transitions.

Changing international institutions can create policy space to support bottom-up initiatives and help give greater visibility to innovative steps already taken at the local level (such as “transition towns” that are rapidly reducing energy needs and shifting energy supplies; many innovations of “green cities” that are making urban societies sustainable; the grassroots tree planting campaigns in Africa that empower women while mitigating greenhouse gas emissions; sustainable agriculture practices that are being undermined by current international trade rules and regimes; legal innovations that give communities control over their natural resources); the national level (such as carbon taxes, green border fees, and other programs to transform energy use); and the global level (such as the new UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the more than 200 multilateral environmental agreements).

A Bali Mandate on Global Economic and Energy Transitions can set forth a new negotiating process to solve the inter-related ecological crises enumerated above. Essential elements of a new architecture for global economic and energy governance include the following: [1]

<> Articulate and implement new development models which give priority not to economic growth per se, but to satisfying basic human rights and basic human needs for all (such as survival, sufficiency, freedom, identity). These basic human needs are required for genuine human happiness and well-being, and are needed by those in industrialized nations as well as developing nations. This requires a fundamental refocusing of policy priorities at all levels of government.

<> Replace today’s main measurement of economic well-being, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with new economic indicators that measure meaningful progress toward economies designed to remain within the earth’s carrying capacity. Climate and other systemic ecological crises compel us to reset the central guidepost of economic policymaking on a course that improves living standards while conserving natural wealth. Governments should invigorate the discussions about measures that account for natural wealth and peoples’ health, such as the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI).

<> Create global trade and financial institutions so that their core mission supports these global transitions in an equitable and democratic fashion. [2] With the World Bank still funding over 15 times more fossil fuels than clean energy, and the World Trade Organization declaring how most of the measures governments are enacting to counter climate change could violate its overlapping agreements, a Bali Mandate must aim to develop recommendations for global economic policy coherence that ensures climate and overall ecological security.

These adaptations should especially address the impact of current world trade rules on: 1) intellectual property, which make it very difficult to transfer clean energy technologies to poorer nations in affordable ways; 2) prohibitions that restrain governments from enacting climate measures such as energy-efficiency standards or support programs for sustainable energy; and 3) agriculture, which make it difficult for small farmers from developing countries to survive in the face of unsustainable, subsidized agribusiness in rich countries. International financial institutions must shift their own funding away from fossil fuels to clean energy.

<> Create a Global Financing Mechanism that enables economically poor but resource rich nations to keep their forests and biodiversity intact, and their fossil fuels under the ground, without sacrificing their own ecologically sustainable development (as Ecuador has recently offered to do with 20 percent of its oil).

<> Create a Global Clean Energy Fund that would generate finances from rich nations and the rich within all nations (through debt cancellation, green border fees, or fees on arm trade, or fees on speculative financial transactions across borders) to help poorer nations leapfrog over the dirty industrial paths of most rich nations.

It is urgent that effective formulas for these transfers be successfully conceived, negotiated, agreed, and implemented at the soonest possible time, before the climate and resource emergencies get truly out of control. Many organizations are already hard at work on this. All alternative energy sources and technologies must be assessed for their systemic impacts on the atmosphere, biodiversity, water, soil, and universal human rights, so as to help the public and governments better decide between false solutions and genuinely sustainable climate stability alternatives.

The internalization of social and ecological cost will drive ecological solutions that transform today’s patterns of production and consumption, replacing long-distance trade and absentee-ownership with decentralized economic activity under community control.

<> Adopt an Oil Depletion Protocol, which creates a framework for oil producing and consuming nations to reduce production and imports to keep ahead of the global depletion of oil supplies (as Sweden, Iceland, Cuba and a few other nations are already doing). We need to reduce global energy demand. As recent reports of runaway energy demand make clear, the world needs a crash diet to curb its overall energy consumption or it faces ecological catastrophe and violent conflicts over resources.

The planet’s carrying capacity must be collectively measured and monitored, with an agreed program that both decreases over-consumption and redistributes real resources and wealth to the poorest, while taking meaningful measures to slow population growth that advance the economic, educational, and reproductive rights of women. Projections of energy needs are unnecessarily high and we can close the gap by powering down and re-localizing production and consumption cycles, led by the industrialized countries.

<> Adopt a UN Covenant on the Right to Water, which will be in ever shorter supply due to accelerating climate change and entrenched patterns of unsustainable development, to clarify the responsibility of governments to provide clean, affordable water to all citizens. The UN Covenant must recognize water as an ecological trust and oblige governments to take bold actions to ensure water conservation and water quality, as well as water equity.

<> Strengthen the United Nations’ overall system of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) to protect forests, fisheries, biodiversity, fragile ecosystems, and endangered species. Adequate resources for implementation and enforcement of the Convention on Biodiversity, the Convention on the Law of the Seas, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, and many others must be secured.

Also, the legal relationship between MEAs, which sometimes may restrict trade, and the WTO, which generally prohibits restrictions on trade, must be clarified to establish a clear hierarchy of public values prioritizing people and the planet over profits for private corporations. Just as one of the oldest global bodies, the International Labor Organization, includes representatives from governments, labor, and business, these new negotiations must involve all of the sectors of society to be effective.

1. JOHN CAVANAGH, Institute for Policy Studies, US

2. JERRY MANDER, International Forum on Globalization, US

3. CHARLES ABUGRE, Christian Aid, UK and Ghana

4. AYODELE AKELE, Labour, Health and Health and Human Rights Development Centre, Nigeria



7. DEBI BARKER, International Forum on Globalization, US


9. MAUDE BARLOW, Council of Canadians, Canada

10. DAVE BATKER, Earth Economics, US

11. WALDEN BELLO, Focus on the Global South, Philippines and Thailand

12. PATRICK BOND, professor, University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Development Studies in South Africa

13. RICHARD BRAND, Church Development Service, Germany

14. ROBIN BROAD, professor, American University, US

15. KENNY BRUNO, Oil Change International, US

16. NICOLA BULLARD, Focus on the Global South, Australia and Thailand

17. PETER BUNYARD, author, founding science editor of The Ecologist magazine, UK

18. TONY CLARKE, Polaris Institute, Canada

19. JUDITH DELLHEIM, AG Wirtschaftspolitik/Linke, Germany

20. FIONA DOVE, Transnational Institute, Netherlands and South Africa

21. MICHAEL DORSEY, professor, Dartmouth College

22. JARED DUVAL, author, former National Director, Sierra Student Coalition, US

23. ROSS GELBSPAN, author, The Heat Is On, and Boiling Point, US

24. SUSAN GEORGE, Transnational Institute, Netherlands and US

25. SVEN GIEGOLD, Attac/FoE, Germany

26. ARZE GLIPO, Asia-Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty (APNFS), Philippines

27. ERIC GOEMAN, Attac Flanders, Belgium

28. JEFF GOODELL, author, Big Coal, US

29. CLAIRE GREENSFELDER, International Forum on Globalization, Plutonium Free Future, US

30. GROUNDWORK, Friends of the Earth, South Africa

31. DAVID HALLOWES, environmental researcher, UK

32. RANDY HAYES, International Forum on Globalization, US

33. RICHARD HEINBERG, author, The Oil Depletion Protocol, US

34. HGSD. (Humanitarian Group for SocialDevelopment), Lebanon


36. REINALDO ITURRIZA LÓPEZ, Universidad Central de Venezuela

37. WES JACKSON, The Land Institute, US

38. THERESA KLOSTERMEYE, Network of Young Altermondialists (NOYA), Germany

39. SMITU KOTHARI, Intercultural Resources, India

40. DAVID KORTEN, author, The Great Turning, US

41. FRIEDERIKE KRESSNER, BUNDjugend (Young Friends of the Earth, Germany

42. STEVE KRETZMANN, Oil Change International, US

43. TOM KUCHARZ, Ecologistas en Acción, Spain

44. EDGARDO LANDER, professor, Universidad Central de Venezuela

45. SARA LARRAIN, Chilean Ecological Action Network (RENACE), Chile

46. IVAN LESAY, CEE Bankwatch-CEPA, Slovakia

47. CAROLINE LUCAS, Member of European Parliament, UK

48. ESPERANZA MARTINEZ, Accion Ecologica, Ecuador

49. NADIA MARTINEZ, Institute for Policy Studies, US

50. BILL MCKIBBEN, Step It Up, and professor, Middlebury College, US


52. VICTOR MENOTTI, International Forum on Globalization, US

53. ROBERTO MEREGALLI, Tradewatch, Italy

54. HORST MEYER, Initiativkreis Energie Kraichgau, Germany

55. M.C. JUAN SIFUENTES MIJARES, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC)

56. MARIO BLADIMIR MONROY GÓMEZ, Red Mexicana de Acción

We call on our governments in Bali to accelerate a Global Energy and Economic Transition.



58. IRFAN MUFTI, Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), South Africa

59. PAT MURPHY, Community Solution, US

60. SAMUEL NGUIFFO, CED (Environment and Development Center), Cameroon

61. HELENA NORBERG-HODGE, International Society for Ecology and Culture, Sweden

62. IKE OKONTA, co-author, Where Vultures Feast: Shell, Human Rights and Oil, Nigeria

63. MARCELA OROZCO, Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC)

64. TOMAS OSCHMANN, Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen, Germany

65. HERMANN OTT, author, The Kyoto Protocol?, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Germany

66. TAD PATZEK, professor, University of California at Berkeley, US and Poland

67. RUTH PAULIG, MdL, Umweltpolitische Sprecherin, Germany

68. ELIZABETH PEREDO, Fundacion Solón, Bolivia

69. CHARLY POPPE, Friends of the Earth Europe, Belgium

70. JONAS POSSELT, BUNDjugend (Young Friends of the Earth) Germany

71. SAJIN PRACHASON Focus on the Global South, Thailand


73. MEGAN QUINN BACHMAN, Community Solution, US

74. VINOD RAINA, Alternatives Asia, India

75. SIMON RETALLACK, climate change author and campaigner, UK

76. TOM REIFER, Transnational Institute, Netherlands

77. WOLFGANG SACHS, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, and Energy, Germany

78. JACK SANTA BARBARA, Sustainable Scale Project, Santa Barbara Family Foundation, Canada

79. VANDANA SHIVA, Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy, India

80. ANDREW SIMMS, the New Economics Foundation, UK

81. ATOSSA SOLTANI, Amazon Watch, US and Iran

82. TAKAFUMI SUZUKI, Space Allies/Arise Law Office, Japan

83. AMADOU TAAL, Worldview, The Gambia

84. VICTORIA TAULI-CORPUZ, Tebtebba Foundation, The Philippines

85. SERGIO ULGIATI, professor, Parthenope University of Napoli, Italy

86. ALEJANDO VILLAMAR, Red Mexicana de Acción Frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC), Mexico

87. PETER WAHL, WEED—World Economy, Ecology & Development, Germany

88. MASAHIRO WATARIDA, Globalization Watch, Hiroshima, Japan

89. DALE WEN, International Forum on Globalization, US and China

90. MONA ZIEGLER, Initiative ‘Aufbruch—anders besser leben’, Germany

91. GABRIELE ZIMMER, Member of European Parliament, Germany

92. Dr. Arjun Karki, President, Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN)

93. Prajeena Karmacharya, Rural Reconstruction Nepal.

94. Francis D. Lee, Executive Director of ARENA (Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives)

95. Mahar Safdar Ali, Member central committee. National Workers Party Pakistan, and GCAP/MDGs Campaign Coordinator Pakistan (2007)

Note: Organizations are for identification purposes only.

[1] These proposals are elaborated in the September 9, 2007 paper by the Institute for Policy Studies and the International Forum on Globalization entitled: “Steps Towards a Global Grand Bargain.”

[2] None of the current institutions: the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO and their regional counterparts, were set up to deal with these environmental crises. Indeed, the actions and jurisdiction of the current global economic agencies often undermines environmental goals.



[The following statement was released by Oxfam.]

Leaders of 189 countries have historic opportunity to break deadlock and protect the world’s poor from climate chaos. Together with a groundswell of people from governments, the private sector and wider civil society, Oxfam has high expectations for the UN Climate Conference in Bali beginning today.

Oxfam is calling for governments to put poor people at the heart of the negotiations. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, which focuses strictly on reducing carbon emissions, equal priority must now be given to helping the most vulnerable communities adapt to climate impacts that they had little role in causing. It requires a massive increase in the paltry amount of international funding currently provided for adaptation. This is compensatory finance owed by the most polluting rich countries to the worst affected in the developing world and so must be additional to existing aid promises.

“No matter how you spin the arrow of responsibility it always ends up pointing at a handful of rich countries. They caused historical pollution and got rich in the process. They can afford to adapt at home and justice demands that they help the world’s poor countries cope as well,” said Kate Raworth, senior researcher for Oxfam. “Future commitments to cut emissions are a must, but additional financing for adaptation cannot wait until 2012. Here in Bali delegates from dozens of poor countries will tell you that they need it now,” she added.

Poor people are first and worst hit by the impacts of climate change – from increasing floods and droughts to more intense hurricanes – but they are the least equipped to cope. According to Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Bali is a make or break moment. Oxfam says that without strong and urgent action, it is the world’s poor who stand to be broken.

“We work with many communities in developing countries who depend on the land and the sea for their livelihoods. When repeated droughts destroy their harvests year on year, and coral bleaching kills fish stocks, hunger pushes these communities to the brink of survival. These climate impacts threaten to undo decades of hard-earned development,” said Raworth.

The first commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol runs from 2008–2012. A global agreement must now be negotiated to ensure strong action after 2012. In order for there to be no gap between the commitment periods, these negotiations must be completed in 2009 to allow sufficient time for all countries to ratify the agreement.

“Last year’s Stern Report sealed the economics of climate change. This year, the IPCC made the science irrefutable. Last week, UNDP’s Human Development Report put poverty impacts at the centre of the debate,” said Raworth. “The pressure is now on 4,000 UN delegates to deliver the global politics needed for a climate breakthrough,” she added.

A report released by Oxfam says that climatic disasters are increasing as temperatures climb and rainfall intensifies. A rise in small- and medium-scale disasters is a particularly worrying trend. Yet even extreme weather need not bring disasters; it is poverty and powerlessness that make people vulnerable. Though more emergency aid is needed, humanitarian response must do more than save lives: it has to link to climate change adaptation and bolster poor people’s livelihoods through social protection and disaster risk reduction approaches.





NUSA DUA, Indonesia, Dec. 2 KYODO – The Japanese government is planning to propose a system to monitor rain forest destruction on a major scale by employing Japan’s satellite technology as part of efforts to fight global warming, government sources said.

With destruction of rain forests expected to be a major topic on the agenda, Japanese climate experts are considering a mechanism to offer financial incentives to developing countries that have succeeded in curbing forest destruction, but monitoring forests to estimate efforts against deforestation on a major scale has been deemed difficult.

Japan is planning to propose the use of its advanced land-observing satellite Daichi, which can monitor forest conditions in detail even during the night or when it is cloudy, by using sensors, the sources said. Satellite data would then be used to estimate the conditions of land to measure the area where deforestation is curbed as well as the impact on curbing global warming.

Japan is also hoping to offer aid in training personnel for the operations. Tokyo will shortly announce plans to launch pilot projects in Indonesia and Brazil, two countries hit by serious reductions in forest areas, the sources said.

In 2005, about 73,000 square kilometers of forest was estimated to have been wiped out by way of illegal logging and conversion to farm land. The area corresponds to around one-fifth of Japan’s total land area. If emissions from forest fires are included, Indonesia is the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases following the United States and China, according to one estimate.



Bali, November 30, 2007 – The world’s largest environmental funding body, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), stands ready to build on its past experience working with the most vulnerable countries that seek market-driven sustainable ways to adjust to climate change today.

“Governments across the globe now accept that immediate action is needed to adapt to climate change; at the GEF this has been a concern for years and we have proven experience financing sustainable development projects that help countries focus on ways to lighten the carbon footprint,” said Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson. “Long before ‘climate proofing’ was in the headlines, GEF was there, implementing adaptations projects on the ground.”

Barbut noted that in GEF’s well-established role as the independent financial mechanism for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the institution has already moved from assessment to adaptation action, with a pipeline of projects and operational guidelines in place for stakeholders. Based on GEF’s past experience, there are three key lessons policymakers should consider, Barbut offered:

<> The capacity and knowledge baseline significantly varies among countries. However, all countries, including the most vulnerable nations, have enough information to start implementing adaptation actions today.

<> Climate change impacts all development sectors. GEF adaptation projects aim to ensure food security, access to water, sound public health, coastal infrastructure and other basic needs.

<> A significant scaling up of adaptation experiences and much greater resources are needed.

“As the Conference debates the management of a new fund on adaptation, our GEF Council has expressed willingness to serve as the Secretariat for the Adaptation Fund and to be guided by COP decisions. This fund is essential because it opens opportunities for more robust financing for this critical issue,” Barbut said.

The GEF is a 178-member financing body devoted to global environmental issues. Its grants support projects in developing countries related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer and persistent organic pollutants. Since 1991, GEF has provided $6.2 billion in grants and leveraging $20 billion in co-financing for over 1,800 projects in over 150 countries. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), GEF has also made more than 7,000 small grants, up to $50,000 each, directly to nongovernmental organizations and community organizations. Contact in Bali: Maureen Lorenzetti, spokesperson: mlorenzetti@thegef.org



MANILA, Dec. 1 (PNA) – A Madrid-based biodiesel leader in Europe is planning to invest US$ 200 million in the Philippines to develop at least 100,000 hectares of land into jatropha plantations to be used as feedstock for biofuel facilities in the country. Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap on Saturday said Bionor Transformacion S.A., a global multi-feedstock company, bared its plans to invest in the Philippines’ biofuel sector through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed recently between AME Bionergy Corp. and the Philippine Agricultural Development and Commercial Corporation (PADCC).

AME, which was appointed the key integrator for Bionor in the Philippines, is tasked to identify suitable jatropha plantation sites, consolidate lands, organize and train farm labor, use appropriate cultivation and agronomic practices, organize local support to install plantation infrastructure, and study the cost structure for production to recommend to Bionor whether the project is economically viable and internationally competitive. PADCC will assist AME in these aspects and will mobilize the resources of the DA’s agencies and bureaus as well as financial institutions to help realize Bionor’s plans. The MOA was signed last November 16.

Yap said Bionor’s main thrust is to develop feedstock plantations worldwide using raw materials that do not compete with the food sector and do not lead to deforestation. “This is why Bionor is tapping jatropha, a non-food crop, to support the requirements of its refineries,” he said.

Bionor is currently operating two biodiesel plants in Spain and Italy with a combined output of 125,000 metric tons (MT) and constructing an additional five plants in Spain and Brazil that will add an additional 900,000 MT of capacity in 2008 and in the fist quarter 2009, resulting in a combined capacity in early 2009 of over a million MT of methyl ester.

Last January, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed the Biofuels Law which aims to ease the country’s dependence on imported, dollar-draining and pollution-generating energy sources by making the blending of ethanol and coco biodiesel in petroleum products mandatory. The law also provides a package of incentives for investors in the biofuels sector, including exemptions from the payment of specific and value added taxes; and financing for those engaged in the production, handling, and transport of biofuel and biofuel feedstock.

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