‘Climate action drought’ in Doha risks condemning the world to more hunger

Campaigns and Advocacy, Climate Change, News article written on the 09 Dec 2012

Australia and other rich countries have failed to take meaningful collective action at the UN climate change negotiations in Doha to prevent and address the harmful impacts of climate change, international aid agency Oxfam Australia said.

Poor countries will today leave the negotiations with little more than when they arrived, after civil society organisations stood with them to demand more from the Doha talks, but were pressed in the final late hours into a ‘take it or leave it’ agreement.

No guarantees that climate finance will increase

At the 2009 Copenhagen negotiations, developed countries committed to pay $100 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries adapt to climate change and lower their emissions, but the Doha agreement today failed to commit nations to scaling up their climate finance from next year in line with this promise.

Australia, France and Canada all gave vague signals of their intentions, while some countries such as the UK and Germany made welcome announcements on their plans to increase public financing for the next few years. The US and Japan made no announcements at all.

The end result is that finance for adaptation and reducing emissions could fall in 2013, at the very moment it needs to be increased.

Oxfam Australia Climate Change Policy Advisor Simon Bradshaw said Australia and other rich countries had failed to address challenges posed by climate change.

“Rich countries, including Australia, failed to provide vulnerable communities with the badly needed assurance that finance for adaptation and mitigation will go up not down in 2013,” he said.

“Poor countries came to Doha facing a climate ‘fiscal cliff’, and at the end of these talks they are now left hanging by their fingertips off the edge.”

“This year, droughts in the Sahel, US and Russia saw food prices rise and hunger spread, but rather than rising to the challenges posed by climate change, we saw a drought of climate action from rich countries in Doha.”

Kyoto extended but with low ambition

The second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol has been adopted, after last minute deals helped close the worst loopholes.

Countries are allowed to increase their lowly emission reduction targets by 2014 but are not obligated to do so. The 2014 review point fits well with Australia’s domestic processes, with our own independent Climate Change Authority already required to review and make recommendations on Australia’s targets at that time.Media Release

Australia joined Liechtenstein, Japan, Monaco, Norway and Switzerland in declaring that they will not meet their second Kyoto target by purchasing surplus emission permits carried over the first commitment period.

Countries must now move swiftly to deeper emissions reductions

The Doha agreement does not include any guarantees for greenhouse gas emissions to actually fall. There was hardly any discussion of increasing mitigation targets, despite the clear recognition over the past two UN climate conferences that the current targets fall far short of levels needed to avoid warming of more than the two degree Celsius limit governments have set.

Roadmaps have been established under last year’s agreement in Durban to consider further cuts next year, and a new international agreement by 2015 that will see all countries required to cut emissions, but that will only come into effect after 2020.

“Once again governments have done far too little to support those most vulnerable to climate change,” Mr Bradshaw said.

A photo from Oxfam’s ‘Climate Action Drought’ installation on Doha’s Corniche can be downloaded here: http://wordsandpictures.oxfam.org.uk/?c=12715&k=7f1b1a1d04

For interviews or more information please contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Anne Wright on 0411 035 695 or annew@oxfam.org.au