Only 24 hours to avoid 3ºC deal as Ministers arrive in Paris

Media Releases article written on the 07 Dec 2015

As Foreign Minister Julie Bishop arrives in Paris during the critical final week of climate change talks, time is running out to reach a deal on new funding provisions and to secure an agreement strong enough to protect vulnerable communities around the world, Oxfam said today.

Oxfam warned that unless a package emerged soon, with sufficient funding for the post-2020 period for both climate change adaptation and help with reducing emissions, the chance of a deal that could avoid more than 1.5 ºC of warming and help the world’s poorest to adapt was in serious jeopardy. Current emissions reductions pledged by countries add up to 3 degrees of warming.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke- who is in Paris for the talks- said climate funding would be the key to whether a deal in Paris would be successful.

“Climate funding is the glue that will make the Paris agreement stick. It will be the difference between a minimalist agreement and one that starts to deliver for the world’s poorest people,” she said.

Oxfam estimates that even with the new pledges, only around US $5-8 billion a year will be available for communities to adapt by 2020. At the same time, the key obstacle to an agreement to strengthen the emissions reductions targets pledged ahead of Paris by 180 countries is the absence of funding for developing countries.

At the beginning of the talks, Prime Minister Turnbull announced Australia would provide at least $1 billion over the next few years, an average of $200m a year. This commitment amounts to no more funding than Australia has provided in the past, and is a far smaller commitment than other developed countries, including Canada, the UK and Germany, have made.

Australia must substantially increase its contributions between now and 2020, and agree to a strong package of finance measures for the post-2020 period, including new targets and a cycle for reviewing commitments in accordance with need.

Dr Szoke said Ministers must remember what was at stake.

“A looming global food crisis linked to El Nino and climate change shows us what climate inaction means,” Dr Szoke said. Between 40-50 million people are at risk of hunger, disease and water shortages around the world by spring 2016.

“Already, around 18 million people need assistance in Ethiopia, Southern Africa, Central America and parts of the Caribbean, South America, Asia and the Pacific. The floods in Chennai, India, last week, affected a further 40,000 people and this year’s El Nino is expected to be one of the strongest ever, with the frequency and impact exacerbated by climate change.

“Ministers should be in no doubt that inadequate action will mean people going hungry.”

Over the past decade, 77 per cent of lives lost from climate-related disasters were in developing countries. The increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather is making food harder to grow, with an extra 25 million malnourished children under the age of five by 2050 because of climate change. Hurricane Sandy in the United States in 2012, floods caused by the wettest winter on record in the UK two years ago and the Russian heatwaves in 2010 show that increasingly extreme weather is a threat to us all.

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