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Stop spying on climate negotiations, group warns US

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Foremost Nigerian network of NGOs working on climate change and sustainable development, Climate and Sustainable Development (CSDevNet), today called on the United States President Obama to put an end to surveillance activities and stop undermining the UN climate negotiations. The call became necessary following the release of documents leaked by Edward Snowden which revealed how the US National Security Agency (NSA) monitored communication between key countries before and during the conference to give their negotiators advance information about other positions at the high-profile meeting where world leaders including Barack Obama, Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel failed to agree to a strong commitment on climate change

In a statement signed by the Group’s National Coordinator, Atayi Babs, CSDevNet condemned the US action, describing it as “surreptitious and unwholesome, capable of undermining current steps aimed at securing a comprehensive, global plan to save the climate – which is supposed to be delivered in 2015.” The group believes that underhand tactics such as that of the US have only succeeded in injecting ominous air into climate talks, leading to the evaporation of trust and maximum goodwill which are critical ingredients in negotiating a safer planet.
The group stated that “this latest spying allegation calls to question, the integrity and the sincerity of purpose of the UN Secretary General’s 2014 High level Climate Summit scheduled for September 2014 in New York as the countries accused of spying – including the US, UK, Canada and Australia – are among those who have done the most to cause the climate crisis and are also seen to be leading the build-up to the summit.”
CSDevNet therefore called on Governments including that of US and Nigeria to acknowledge that climate crisis engulfing the earth can only be solved when all parties work together – openly and honestly – towards a common goal that reflects the planetary emergency facing us, rather than the pursuit of narrow national interests and that of fossil fuel corporations.
The spying allegations come off the back of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address this week which failed to raise to bar on climate action. The latest Snowden document revealed that the NSA had provided advance details of the Danish plan to “rescue” the talks should they founder, and also had learned of China’s efforts to coordinate its position with India before the conference. The Copenhagen talks – which ended in disarray after the US, working with a small group of 25 countries, tried to ram through an agreement that other developing countries mostly rejected – were marked by subterfuge, passion and chaos.
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