Bolivia To Take Dispute Over Climate Negotiations To International Court


photo via the telegraph

In the early hours before an agreement was made in Cancun toward a global deal to combat climate change, one country, Bolivia, repeatedly stood up to voice its opposition to the process. The COP's president, Patricia Espinosa of Mexico, gaveled down Bolivia and a deal was ultimately approved. Now Bolivia plans to take its fight to International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, where it will complain that international law was disobeyed in Cancun. Bolivia says that its opposition to the agreement is right, and that an agreement cannot be made without "consensus." Over 190 other countries voted for the Cancun Agreements, with Bolivia the lone dissenter. I was in Cancun for my day job and negotiators there said that consensus doesn't mean unanimity.

Bolivian Ambassador Pablo Solon told the media:

"At this stage, there is a group of legal experts that is analyzing all the strategies in relation to the legal steps that Bolivia is going to take," Solon said. "In the coming days, we will announce to the media those steps once we have them already taken...

"The worst thing about Cancun -- and we can say that Cancun is even worse than Copenhagen -- is that the rule of consensus has been violated," he said.

Bolivia opposes the weak emissions reduction commitments of developed countries and, among other issues, doesn't want forests to be turned into carbon offsets for big polluters to trade in a market. Bolivia also intends to hold another "World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth" in Cochabamba.

In Copenhagen last year, Bolivia, along with Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, worked to stop the Copenhagen Accord, which was brokered by President Obama. The Accord, which was mostly accepted in Cancun, is opposed by Bolivian President Evo Morales, who finds the deal inadequate to stop climate change and protect vulnerable nations like his.

Stay tuned to this story, which could develop as the year progresses. A deal can now reasonably be expected at the next climate talks in South Africa in 2011.