Massive public pressure needed to rescue climate deal after Warsaw farce and fiasco

Campaigns and Advocacy, Climate Change, Media Releases, News article written on the 24 Nov 2013

Only intense public pressure can rescue a global climate deal badly needed to limit warming and avoid the worst effects of climate change, Oxfam said today as the UN climate change negotiations drew to a close in Warsaw.

Oxfam Australia climate change policy expert Simon Bradshaw, speaking from Warsaw, said very few countries, including Australia, could walk out of these talks with their head held high.

“Australia, the US and EU have refused to say how they will deliver on their commitment to scale up climate finance, which is badly needed to help poor countries adapt to the escalating effects of climate change and reduce emissions,” Dr Bradshaw said.

“Australia, the US, Japan, Canada, China, India, Brazil and others have pushed through a blueprint for a new climate deal which will allow countries to choose their own weak emissions reduction targets.”

Meanwhile, Japan had joined Canada in back-peddling on promised emission reductions.

“No-one will be a winner in this race to the bottom, but it’s the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people who stand to lose the most,” Dr Bradshaw said.

“They are the least responsible for causing climate change but will bear the brunt of its effects.”

Oxfam joined other NGOs and social movements on Thursday in walking out of the negotiations.

“Oxfam walked out of the Warsaw climate talks because enough is enough. Commitments are being flouted. Governments with the power to break the deadlock are acting recklessly and the pervasive influence of dirty energy is wrecking the prospect of a food secure future,” Dr Bradshaw said.

“It’s time to press the reset button.  We need to take critical decisions for our planet’s future out from behind closed doors and give them back to the people. A global climate deal still offers the best hope of avoiding climate catastrophe but it’s going to take every one of us to make it happen.”

The two-week negotiations were meant to make progress towards a new global climate deal, to be finalised in 2015 and enter into force in 2020.  The new deal will replace the existing Kyoto Protocol.

However, rich countries, including Australia, made no clear commitments to deliver to scale up climate finance to US $100bn per year by 2020 – a promise made 4 years ago in Copenhagen and critical to securing a global climate change agreement.

Meanwhile, on emissions reductions, no clear roadmap to a new climate deal in Paris in 2015 was agreed. There is little to stop countries setting weak targets for emissions cuts after 2020 and no clear deadline by when they must do so.

A new mechanism was established to address loss and damage from climate impacts where adaptation is not possible. In a final stand-off, the US forced it under existing adaptation arrangements, substantially weakening the support it can provide to developing countries. These arrangements will be reviewed in 2016.

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