Last Minute Package Breathes Life Into UN Climate Talks
Last Minute Package Breathes Life Into UN
Urgent Action is Now Needed to Get the Global Deal Back on Track
The UN climate talks are off the life-support machine, following a last-minute agreement that gives the Kyoto Protocol a lifeline, says international agency Oxfam. It establishes a global Climate Fund and, while falling short of the emissions cuts needed, lays out a path to move towards them – edging the world closer to the global deal that eluded last year’s summit in Copenhagen.
The Climate Fund will be designed by a committee with a strong voice for developing countries, which should ensure that life-saving finance will be delivered to those who are most vulnerable to climate change. The fund will also address the “adaptation gap”, which refers to the fact that the vast majority of climate funding to date has gone towards cutting emissions, as opposed to helping people cope with the effects of climate change that are already happening.
Meanwhile, the emissions cuts pledged after Copenhagen have been set as a minimum, with an expectation to raise them according to the demands of climate science. Urgent work is needed in the coming months to strengthen these reduction targets to the scale needed avoid catastrophic climate change, and put in place the compliance measures that will ensure real pollution cuts take place.
Oxfam New Zealand Executive Director Barry Coates said, “The Cancun deal shows that the UN system can deliver. There is now an opportunity to build on this momentum and secure the global agreement that is so essential to tackle climate change.
“With lives on the line, we must now act quickly. Deep reductions in emissions from New Zealand and other countries are needed, well beyond current pledges. And long-term funding must be secured so the Climate Fund can start to deliver, helping vulnerable communities, including our Pacific neighbours, to protect themselves from the destructive impacts of climate change,” said Coates.
There are issues that need to be addressed, including finding the sources of new, long-term money to help fill the Climate Fund. An opportunity has been missed to establish levies on international aviation and shipping, which could have raised substantial new resources for fighting climate change in poor countries. This issue must be revisited with urgency next year. The concerns of women should also be put at the heart of the new fund to ensure that those who are among the most affected receive the resources they need.
“What is necessary now is a renewal of political will to drive these negotiations forward to a global deal. Many of the most difficult issues remain.
“We will not be able to offer a safe future for vulnerable women, men and children unless governments realise that we swim together or sink together. Our challenge is to elevate our vision,” said Coates.