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LatAm wants rich nations to foot climate change

There won't be any crucial decisions made at the December climate change meeting in Indonesia, where Latin America will insist that the industrialized world should 'pick up the tab'.

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Latin American governments will call for greater commitments from industrialized countries to curb climate change and to provide financial support for developing countries to deal with its effects.

That is the position Latin America will take to the 13th Conference of Parties (COP13) to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change, to take place Dec. 3-14 in Bali, Indonesia.

The industrialized nations promised to contribute to a special fund for adaptation measures, but "nothing has been given so far," complained José Domingos Miguez, secretary of Brazil's Interministerial Commission on Climate Change and one of his country's representatives heading to COP13.

It was agreed that the fund would reach the equivalent of two percent of the resources negotiated in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), but there are differences about which body would be in charge of managing those resources.

The CDM is one of the instruments defined in the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change to help industrialized countries meet their obligations in reducing the greenhouse-effect gases by investing in "clean" projects in the developing world.

Because the industrialized countries are the "most responsible" for global warming, they have "the moral obligation to finance the adaptation plans and actions in developing countries," especially the most vulnerable, like the small island countries, said Omar Rivera, expert with Cuba's Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, and who will also be going to Bali for COP13.

Many islands will disappear or will lose much of their land and beaches as a result of rising sea levels caused by the melting of polar ice. And in the Andes, for example, the melting of glaciers means there will be less fresh water for mountain communities.

The financing and support for confronting climate change's negative effects are "a priority" to be defended by Peru, "a highly vulnerable country," according to Vanesa Vereau, president of the non-governmental United by Climate Change Association, which also is demanding that Lima take a "firm stance" in demanding greater commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

To implement the principle of "shared but differentiated responsibilities," agreed under the Convention, is one position shared by the government officials Tierramérica consulted in the region.

Brazil refuses to set goals for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, despite pressure from environmentalists and experts in that country, which is among the five leading emitters of climate-changing gases due to deforestation in the vast Amazon region.

Under an initiative from an environmentalist lawmaker, a bill is going through Parliament that would obligate a reduction, by 2012, of greenhouse gas emissions to four percent less than they were in 1990. That is just a bit less than the 5.2 percent established by the Kyoto Protocol for industrialized countries.

"Brazil should set some goals, but voluntary ones," according to José Marengo, meteorologist at the National Institute of Space Research and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which involves thousands of scientists from around the globe.

The dramatic reports released by the IPCC since February -- highlighting the tragedies the world will suffer if strong measures are not adopted to reduce emissions -- awakened hopes that the Bali conference will firm up decisions that will lead to a better future for humanity.

But the expectations are "out of proportion", because there will be no progress without the participation of the United States in the Kyoto Protocol, said ambassador Raúl Estrada Oyuela, who r

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