The climate change declaration made by world leaders at this weekend’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) showed there is still room for a legally binding agreement to be reached at the Copenhagen meeting in December, international aid agency Oxfam said today.
Oxfam Australia’s Climate Change spokeswoman Kelly Dent said it was encouraging that the last significant meeting of world leaders before Copenhagen acknowledged the need for a legally binding document to tackle the undisputed threat climate change poses to the world.
However, the CHOGM declaration has fallen short by only pointing the way to an operationally binding agreement in Copenhagen, with a legally binding agreement to be finalised in 2010.
“There is no room for further delay on climate change. People in developing countries are already suffering from the effects of changing weather patterns. It is essential that Copenhagen delivers a legally binding agreement,” Ms Dent said.
“Financing to help developing countries deal with the impact of climate change is essential to a deal. Oxfam is pleased that CHOGM has recognised that financing for climate change should be separate to existing aid. It must also be above existing agreed international aid targets of .7 per cent of gross national income. Raiding health and education budgets in poor countries to pay for climate change would be disastrous for poor people.”
“Oxfam supports the Australian Government’s focus on providing at least 10 per cent of climate funding for small island developing countries. Rising sea levels in these countries are already threatening people’s homes and livelihoods,” Ms Dent said.
“Prime Minister Kevin Rudd now needs to demonstrate how seriously the Australian Government takes this issue by indicating how much public money he is prepared to put on the table to help developing countries deal with the effects of climate change,” Ms Dent said.
“Disappointingly, the CHOGM declaration also fails to commit countries to targets to reduce emissions. These targets are essential to avoiding catastrophic climate change.”
“Now is the time for world leaders to act. Copenhagen can deliver a fair, safe and legally binding agreement if our leaders are prepared to step up. The world cannot afford any further delay,” Ms Dent said.