How does Argentina's change of government alter Climate Negotiations?

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Infobae, Paris, France

After the change of presidential government in Argentina, an understanding of the process of work of the national delegation at the Climate Negotiations.

A delegation formed by the former president is negotiating a deal that will implemented by the newly elected one.  A special envoy has come to work with other delgates in the final days to ease the transition in environmental policies.

The Conference of the Parties (cop21) is coming to an end in Paris, France, with many issues still unresolved among the parties that impede the primary objective of a truly ambitious agreement to fight against climate change. In this context of an event with such characteristics, the change of government in Argentina is not lost, at least in regard to the delegation of our country.

After a year of hard work, with the final presentation of the Third Communication on Climate Change and its Climate Action Plan with the respective national contributions (called INDC, for its acronym in English); the delegation of Argentina in cop21 falls under the mandate of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. So, the actual government is currently negotiating what will be implemented by the newly assumed, after the conference ended.

To facilitate the transition process in environmental policy, the current government of Mauricio Macri sent Juan Carlos Villalonga, current national deputy for the City of Buenos Aires and former president of the Environmental Protection Agency of the city, so that he could join the delegation from this Wednesday. "It would be tedious that since the change of government on 10 December, those who have been negotiating go away and one would assume", he told Infobae, adding: "There is willingness of the members of the delegation for this transition process".

In addition, former Greenpeace stressed that, while there will be a leadership change in the Foreign Ministry, the current Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and other ministries, is expected to technicians who are now starring in the fundamentals of decisions continue at their posts in the new government.

The main objective for Argentina at the cop21 lies in two objectives. On the one hand, defense, recognition and implementation of the principle of differentiation in the agreement. What is it about? All parties have a common responsibility to climate change, but that responsibility is differentiated according to each country and their historic emissions. That is, it is not the same responsibility of a country like the United States, which has historically based its production model in the exploitation of fossil fuels at the expense of the pollution of the planet, than an island like Tuvalu, main today affected by the rise of sea level.

In this connection, Villalonga was critical: "We must respect the distinction, but we also has responsibilities. Historically Argentina has been related to the developing countries to disengage responsibilities". On the other hand, and as had expressed in his speech, former Vice President Amado Boudou, the other topic of interest in the cop21 is land use and agriculture, one of the main productive activities of the country and responsible for the issue, along with livestock, 27% of emissions of greenhouse gases, according to the corresponding inventory submitted this year.

With a cop21 that is expected to end on Friday (although historically it is delayed by the lack of consensus between the parties) and as an effective change of government, Villalonga described a strategy to have a future Argentina in the fight against climate change: "assume a less ideological and more open stance that developed at the time; to recognize the different levels of government in implementing environmental policies; review the proposed scenario analysis that formed the basis of the Climate Action Plan, and from there, review the national contributions".

Faced with a new national political scene and what he hopes is a new international agreement against climate change, "the envoy of Macri" expresses his opinion on the country's future environmental and energy issues: "It is impossible to think of having an energy revolution if there isn't an stable economy. Otherwise, these issues are fictitious, we would be discussing something that no one is interested. This is the change I wanted to, I hope now we start making sustainability subject of debate and discussion".

NGOs negatively rewarded a draft national law

The "Fossil of the day" Award is a joint initiative of civil society organizations Climate Action Network (CAN), through which a prize is awarded daily to the country or group of countries smaller share, responsibility and action have for that day in order to raise awareness of the situation and encourage them to bring about change.

Yesterday, along with Australia, Argentina received the award not for a specific action during the negotiations but for the law project Carboniferous Reservoir Fiscales (YCF). The aim of this "recognition" by the NGOs was to highlight the energy policy based on fossil fuels that characterizes Argentina. At the same time, in the Parisian night, arrived the news from Argentina that, becuase of lack of quorum, the vote of the project was suspended and it is still waiting for a final decision.