Statements by Oxfam Australia’s Director of Public Policy & Outreach, James Ensor
Bali has for the first time drawn up a roadmap for all countries to tackle climate change. But a handful of powerful countries have relegated the overwhelming scientific evidence to a footnote. The Bush Administration — dragging Canada, Japan and Russia in tow — has thrown away the compass and is trying to force us all to take the journey in a gas-guzzling 4×4, not the solar-powered speedster that the world urgently needs.
The Bali result sets the stage for addressing fairness — all countries will have to limit emissions. But rich countries will have to kick the carbon habit first and poor countries need to see them do it. A door has been held opened for the US to join. The danger is that developing countries will be forced through the same door.
Without a clear range for the global emissions cuts needed, this deal fails to keep us from the brink of exceeding 2°C of warming. Far from the negotiating halls of Bali, poor people waist-high in floods and children malnourished by failed harvests will demand to know, why did world leaders not see what we face and act urgently to stop it?
This outcome is a clear call to the citizens of the United States, Canada, Japan and Russia. Demand more. Only you can push your governments to deliver justice for poor people facing the next drought, flood or cyclone.
Developing countries came to Bali ready to talk, willing to listen, but also demanding to be heard. A handful of the richest nations — led by the Bush Administration — have rebuffed their will and sapped the strength of what Bali had to offer. It’s a deep insult to the world’s poorest people.
All the countries of the world are now united around delivering the Bali Roadmap by 2009, despite repeated US moves to hollow out these talks. But the level of ambition in the agreement still does not match the urgent need. The cost of not going far enough will be felt a long way from the air-conditioned halls of this luxury hotel. It will be paid in poor countries, by women and men forced to reap the failed harvests of our collective inaction.
At long last the UN climate talks have started to grapple with the devastating impacts climate change is already having on the world’s poorest people. Coping with these impacts comes at a price that rich polluters must pay. Under pressure from developing countries, Bali has delivered clear progress: a fund for adaptation is now in place and all countries agree that more money must be raised. But with estimated costs exceeding $50 billion annually, we now need to see rich countries put some serious money forward.
The Rudd Government has this week delivered on its pre-election commitment to the Australian public to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. This is to be commended — after a decade shouting from the stands we’re now a player on the ground.
But we’re nowhere near being the best player on the ground. The events in Bali this week have showed us that while we are beginning to show leadership, there is still much to be done if the Rudd Government is to realise its ambition to be a bridge builder between rich and poor countries.
We can’t sit back and congratulate ourselves. We must push harder to secure a future for poor and vulnerable communities who are increasingly feeling the impacts of the climate crisis.
For more information call Ian Woolverton on 0409 181 454