INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Chile: Supportive of Political Outcome at Cop-15 If It Sets

Published: Fri 4 Dec 2009 08:44 PM
VZCZCXYZ0032
RR RUEHWEB
DE RUEHSG #1180/01 3382045
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 042044Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0377
INFO MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA
UNCLAS SANTIAGO 001180
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
STATE FOR S/SECC
STATE FOR WHA/BSC, WHA/EPSC AND EEB/ESC/IEC
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ENRG SENV PGOV KGHG UN CI
SUBJECT: CHILE: SUPPORTIVE OF POLITICAL OUTCOME AT COP-15 IF IT SETS
THE TONE FOR CONTINUED NEGOTIATIONS
1. (SBU) Summary: Environment Minister Uriarte told the Ambassador
that Chile expects the outcome of the COP-15 in Copenhagen to be a
political agreement, but that she hopes it will have some
substance. As an emerging economy, Chile expects to be a bridge
between the developed and developing countries. Noting the
important role for developing countries in climate change
mitigation, she suggested Chile will pursue mitigation measures
using its own resources, in contrast to other countries that will
make commitments contingent on financing from developed countries.
Uriarte signaled that Chile may be prepared to outline voluntary
commitments if the negotiating climate is right. End summary.
2. (SBU) The Ambassador met with Minister of the Environment Ana
Lya Uriarte on December 4. The Minister was accompanied by Raul
Campusano, Head of International Affairs at the National
Environmental Commission (CONAMA) and, also from CONAMA, Juan
Francisco Bascunan and Constance Nalegach. ESTHoff accompanied the
Ambassador. In addition, on December 1, ESTHoff met with Waldemar
Coutts, Deputy Director of Chile's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Office of Environment.
Political Outcome Should Still Have Substance
--------------------------------------------- ------------
3. (SBU) Uriarte outlined Chile's expectation that the outcome of
Copenhagen would be a politically binding agreement and, while
expressing some disappointment there would not be legally binding
outcome at the COP-15, seemed optimistic about a future agreement.
(Coutts echoed this view in his meeting with ESTHoff.) Uriarte
said this was the most practical approach given the current global
political situation "at this historic moment" and repeated several
times that to be an effective agreement it would need to follow the
Bali roadmap priorities of measurement, reporting, and verification
of progress on emissions reductions. She was not concerned that
international verification would become a sticking point, although
she noted India's reservations on the issue.
Pending OECD Membership is Shaping Chile's Bridging Role
--------------------------------------------- ----------------------
---------
4. (SBU) Uriarte described Chile's probable December accession to
the OECD as an opportunity to exchange best practices and a chance
to bring an emerging economy vision to the OECD. Even if the
developed countries significantly reduce emissions, Uriate said
there is still a powerful role for developing countries in climate
change mitigation. She conveyed the sense of responsibility Chile
feels to develop mitigation measures it could meet using its own
resources. She differentiated this from other countries, i.e.,
Brazil, which will make commitments contingent only on financing
from developed countries.
5. (SBU) Coutts asserted that Chile's imminent accession to the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has
increased the pressure for it to consider making commitments, given
that many of its trading partners (particularly EU countries) are
looking at the carbon footprint of products entering their markets.
He cited the cases of Mexico and South Korea, non-Annex I countries
that joined the OECD without making binding commitments to reduce
emissions which, nevertheless, have gradually developed "ambitious,
but voluntary" climate change mitigation goals. Chile expects to
join Mexico and Korea, both formerly part of the G-77, in the
Environmental Integrity Group (EIG).
President Bachelet May Attend Copenhagen
--------------------------------------------- ---------
6. (SBU) When asked if President Bachelet would go to Copenhagen,
Uriarte evaded a direct reply and said that after Chile's
presidential election on December 13, there is a constitutional
requirement for the president to request the Senate's permission to
travel outside the country, but it is not in session. Coutts
confided to ESTHoff that he believes that Bachelet will attend if
she "has a message to deliver."
7. (SBU) In the context of speculation about Bachelet's
participation, Coutts said that Chile's National Energy Commission
has political guidance to develop targets for voluntary emissions
reductions. Uriarte emphasized that Chile is seeking targets that
it can attain with domestic resources. The minister and Coutts
both described Chile's approach to voluntary mitigation measures
as a type of "pledge and review," i.e., Chile will set goals and
periodically reassess both its progress and the possibility of
making further commitments, subject to technical assistance and
financing.
Chilean Delegation
------------------------
8. (SBU) According to Coutts, there will be over 40 members of the
Chilean delegation to Copenhagen, including four ministers:
Minister of Environment Uriarte as the head of delegation, Minister
of Agriculture Marigen Hornkhol, Minister of Mining Santiago
Gonzalez, and Minister of Energy Marcelo Tokman. The executive
director of Chile's environmental commission, Alvaro Sapag will
also attend as head of the technical delegation. The Ministry of
Foreign Affairs will be represented by Coutts and Christian
Maquieira (Chile's ambassador to Paraquay and its representative in
previous climate change negotiations). The working level members
of the delegation will be there from the start of discussions, but
the ministers will not travel until after Chile's December 13
presidential elections; Uriarte plans to be in Copenhagen on
December 14.
9. (SBU) Coutts revealed former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos,
one of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Envoys on Climate
Change will also attend, but not as part of the official Chilean
delegation. Coutts expressed relief that no non-governmental
organizations have asked to join the delegation, but there will be
at least four representatives of the private sector. He inquired
about private sector and NGO participation in the USG delegation.
SIMONS
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