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Public needed to rescue climate deal after Warsaw fiasco

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

Only massive public pressure can rescue a climate deal, warned Oxfam today, as the Warsaw negotiations closed after a fortnight of farce and fiasco.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam said:

“The Warsaw talks opened amidst the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. It is a warning of what climate change could mean for us all yet governments barely seemed to notice.”

“Oxfam, along with other major international NGOs, walked out of the Warsaw climate talks because enough is enough. The problem is the lack of political will and not the UN process itself- a multilateral process which delivers a global deal on tackling climate change is the only way we can ensure that emissions are kept below danger levels and poor countries get the support they need to deal with the consequences of a changing climate. Commitments were being flouted. Governments with the power to break the deadlock were acting recklessly and the pervasive influence of dirty energy was wrecking the prospect of a food secure future.

"At the talks Japan joined Canada in back-peddling on promised emission reductions. Australia, the US and EU have refused to say how they will deliver on their commitment to scale up climate finance. And the US, Australia, Japan, Canada, China, India, Brazil and others have pushed through a blue print for a new climate deal which will allow countries to choose their own weak emissions reduction targets.

“Very few countries can leave Warsaw with their head held high. We have witnessed a race to the bottom in these negotiations and it’s the world’s poorest people who stand to lose the most,” said Byanyima.

“It’s time to press the reset button. We need to take these critical decisions for our planets 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.”

Barry Coates, Oxfam New Zealand Executive Director commented. “After the last Ministerial, when New Zealand attracted heavy criticism, the government delegation kept a lower profile, within the ‘umbrella’ coalition that includes Japan, Canada and other countries unwilling to move towards an ambitious global agreement. We are on the side of the ‘do little’ coalition, instead of joining in a push for the agreement that we and all other countries need in Paris in 2015.”

“Time is running out and so are excuses. These negotiations started in 1992 and there is little to show for them. There should be no 21st Birthday celebrations, but a call for the squabbling to end and for governments to come to their senses. We will all lose if a fair, ambitious and binding deal is not reached within the next two years,” said Coates.

Finance: Rich countries made no clear commitments to scale up climate finance to $100bn per year by 2020 - a promise made 4 years ago in Copenhagen; and no deadline was set to make the first payments into the Green Climate Fund. Warsaw just about rescued the Adaptation Fund with a total of $100 million in pledges by 8 countries - although this is just a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed (Nigeria’s adaptation costs are estimated to be around US$11 billion per year between now and 2020).

Emissions: The gap between projected emissions levels in 2020 and the level needed to keep warming below the 2C target will likely increase as Japan back-tracked on its previous commitment to emissions cuts. For the period after 2020, a vague roadmap to a new climate deal in Paris in 2015 was agreed but there is little to stop countries setting weak targets for emissions cuts in the new treaty.

Loss and Damage: A new mechanism was established to address losses 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 at COP22 in 2016.

ENDS

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