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Copenhagen: The State Of Play

Copenhagen: The State Of Play

African countries suspended climate talks in Copenhagen Monday as rich countries reluctance to discuss binding emissions reductions brought chaos to the negotiations. The talks resumed after a half-day suspension.

Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International said:

“Africa has pulled the emergency cord to avoid a train crash at the end of the week. Poor countries want to see an outcome which guarantees sharp emissions reductions yet rich countries are trying to delay discussions on the only mechanism we have to deliver this – the Kyoto Protocol.

“This not about blocking the talks – it is about whether rich countries are ready to guarantee action on climate change and the survival of people in Africa and across the world.

“We know what is needed: sharp emissions cuts, $200bn a year in new money to help poor countries tackle climate change and guarantees of action. We will have over 100 of the world’s most powerful people in one place. We have a golden opportunity to avert climate disaster. It must not be wasted.”

African countries refused to continue negotiations unless talks on a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol are prioritised ahead of broader discussions under a second negotiating track. Australia, Japan and others have succeeded in stopping Kyoto Protocol discussions as a result. Of the two tracks of negotiations underway in Copenhagen, the Kyoto Protocol is the only one which includes a mechanism for legally binding emissions reductions by rich countries.

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Barry Coates, Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand said:

“As the negotiations approach the end game, the New Zealand government needs to be a part of the solution, rather than just part of the problem. This means taking on our fair share of emissions reductions. The government has been justifying the adequacy of our target on the basis of a European report. Unfortunately, the methodology of the Climate Action Tracker report is not sound and, rather than New Zealand’s target being seen to be better than most, the reality is that New Zealand is one of a number of developed countries that need to do more to reduce emissions.

“The current aggregate target for all developed countries of 12-18 per cent is far off the level that science demands to avoid climate change devastating the lives of vulnerable communities. Developing countries are calling for 40-45 per cent.

“Rich countries, including New Zealand, must produce real, domestic emissions reductions in order to start the transition to a low carbon development path, and not just rely on credits from the planting of trees that will be cut down in future. We need to act now rather than transferring the bill onto our children.

“Just as importantly, the New Zealand government needs to make a fair offer of finance to support our Pacific neighbours and other countries to deal with the impacts of past pollution. We caused the problem but they are paying the price. We need to help them cope.”


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