APEC must point the way to an ambitious climate change deal, says Oxfam

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 06 Sep 2007

International agency Oxfam is concerned that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Head of State meeting in Sydney tomorrow will fail to kick-start an ambitious plan to tackle climate change.
APEC – whose 21 members including the US, Australia, Russia, Canada, Japan, China and Indonesia are responsible for around half the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – will set the tone for vital talks this year toward a new target to reduce carbon pollution.
‘The signs are bleak that APEC will offer much more than a business-as-usual approach by some of the world’s richest and biggest polluting countries,’ James Ensor, Policy Director. ‘It is good for APEC to acknowledge the problem and talk about tackling deforestation and improving energy efficiency, but much more is needed.’
Oxfam is concerned that climate change is increasing poverty and vulnerability among the world’s poorest people who are least responsible for the problem and least able to bear its effects. ‘The changes needed to tackle the causes and effects of climate change must be substantial, sustainable, and fair to the world’s poorest people,’ Ensor said.
More than 4 billion people – over 60% of the world’s population – live in Asia and half of those live near coasts. Asia is also home to 87% of the world’s 400 million small farms, many of which need help to cope with changing weather patterns that affect food production and livelihoods.
Oxfam wants APEC to deliver on its stated support for the UN climate talks by endorsing a “Bali mandate” that would allow post-2012 negotiations to begin in December and end by 2009.
Oxfam looks to APEC to acknowledge the need for substantial and binding carbon reductions in a post-2012 deal. ‘If the rich country members of APEC remain wedded to voluntary reductions only, it will send a pessimistic message,’ Ensor said. ‘The EU has already offered a 20% reduction by 2020, which is a good start that can yet be improved. APEC must signal the need to go there too.’
Rich countries must also provide support to help the poorest people cope with the damage that climate change is already causing – at least $50 billion a year or more, according to Oxfam estimates. ‘Key APEC members are laggards in providing finance for adaptation, despite being most responsible for the problem and wealthy enough to pay. In Sydney they could start to set that right,’ Ensor said.
‘This meeting is an important test as to whether UN negotiations in Bali this December and beyond will be ambitious and smooth, or instead become a fractious process toward a flawed end. APEC leaders need to show vision and inspire confidence,’ Ensor said.
To arrange an interview with James Ensor call Ian Woolverton on 0409 181 454