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Climate talks: ‘failure of political will’

For Immediate Release: 21 November 2006

Climate talks: ‘failure of political will’

Failure of the UN Climate Change Conference in Nairobi to produce either a plan to agree a global target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or an adequate timetable to reach agreement on cuts, is a ‘regrettable failure of political will,’ says New Zealand development agency TEAR Fund.

Despite 11th-hour negotiations in Nairobi by ministers from around the world, the final outcome from the Conference charts the weakest of paths towards rich countries cutting global emissions after the first phase of the legally-binding Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012.

“Despite strong lobbying to achieve a favourable outcome, a comprehensive deal could not be struck. This is a blow to efforts to avert the threat of climate change,” says Stephen Tollestrup, Executive Director of TEAR Fund. “Sadly, this conference has been marked by a lack of urgency and leadership. This must change quickly if we are to halt a significant climate shift in the future.”

A last minute positive step was agreement that during 2008 a review of the Kyoto Protocol will be held. The review will open up many of the Protocol’s measures, which could in future contribute towards deciding new emissions targets, and to more money flowing to developing countries. “The decision came late, but better late then never,” says Stephen Tollestrup.

Another key issue facing negotiators from the 189 countries related to the need for funding to help developing countries cope with climate change. Comments Mr. Tollestrup: “Small steps were taken towards finalising details of a fund to help developing countries adapt to climate change, but the vital call on who will manage the fund was postponed until next year’s conference.

“At this conference it was encouraging to see much greater awareness of climate change as a key poverty issue, but overall it was not acceptable to leave African soil without more decisions to benefit poor people. Some progress was made, but more must be done before the next UN conference in 2007. This issue is New Zealand’s opportunity to punch above its political weight by leading the way on climate change.”


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