Bolivia’s President Luis Arce on Climate Change

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As COP26 draws to a close, Bolivia’s president Luis Arce speaks to The Canary about the need for rich countries to pay their fair share to mitigate the consequences of historical pollution and to look beyond market mechanisms to avert the climate crisis.

Video transcript

Pablo Navarrete: Your visit to the UK involved going to Glasgow for the COP26 climate change conference. What is your government’s position with regards to climate change and what do you and your government feel needs to happen to stop the climate catastrophe that lies ahead?

Luis Arce: Firstly, we have demanded that developed countries fulfill their obligations made under the Paris agreements. They promised to provide 100 billion dollars. Nothing.

And the climate problem gets worse.

​​We have proposed that the 1.5°C global warming increase up to 2030 be fulfilled, which implies that developed countries have to make much bigger effort to reduce carbon emissions.

Secondly, we have proposed that it is not only market mechanisms that are used to distribute the resources that are still pending.

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And we have proposed that countries receive direct support. Countries need the resources directly and quickly, not to wait for market mechanisms. We know that there are market asymmetries and these generate uncertainty.

Moreover, the market does not work efficiently as theory says it should. Therefore that is not going to work and climate change will get worse.

We want countries to receive direct aid so that we developing countries have the resources to do something to address the climate crisis.

Thirdly, we have raised the issue of financing. Not only in relation to mitigation. It is good that financing is given for mitigation, but we also want technology transfer.

Today the development of our countries requires us to be in harmony with mother earth and the environment. Before, factories that were built in developed countries 100 years ago polluted freely and nobody said anything. Now that we want to industrialise, setting up an industrial plant means having all the necessary environmental safeguards. That means more resources and expenditure. So today development is more expensive for us, but we also have the right to develop ourselves. Therefore technology transfer is crucial for our countries, as is the direct help we can receive, not only for mitigation but also to effectively combat… I don’t call it climate change; it is a climate crisis.

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