Monday, November 26, 2012

As UN climate talks open in Doha, NGOs call for action, ambition and equity

At the opening of the biggest climate talks of the year, international experts from NGOs organized in the Climate Action Network (CAN) said the Doha negotiations presented a turning point for the world with much that needed to be achieved for COP18 to be branded a success. CAN called for countries to make Doha about action, ambition and equity.

Specifically, CAN called not only for developed countries to sign on to the second commitment period of the world's only legally binding climate treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, but for the nations involved to increase their emission reductions within the treaty and to close the loopholes that existed within it which would let 30 billion tonnes of carbon escape into the atmosphere.

Developed countries also needed to increase their emissions reductions commitments as current pledges were so far inadequate to keep the temperature rise below 2 degrees as well as to lock in finance to support mitigation action by developing nations. Tasneem Essop, International Climate Policy Advocate for WWF, said the inadequate performance by developed countries was eroding trust which would have implications for the negotiations.

“While developing countries can take on more action, they can only do so if developed countries meet their commitments to provide finance,” she said. Martin Kaiser, head of the Greenpeace delegation, said the way countries approached the Kyoto Protocol would set the tone for the talks.

“EU leaders need to reject pressure from the coal and oil industry, and strengthen its legal limitation of atmospheric pollution without loopholes,” he said. “This sends out a challenge to US President Barrack Obama and other world leaders to restart their international engagement in the interests of their citizens and millions people around the globe.”

Wael Hmaidan, Director of CAN International, said the Doha talks were about what kind of world we want to live in. With warming at just 0.8 degrees, devastating consequences of climate change have already hit many countries this year, including Hurricane Sandy in the Americas and droughts in the US and Russia.

“The door to staying below the internationally agreed 2 degrees temperature rise is still open, but we need developed countries to increase their commitment to reducing carbon emissions more quickly so that this door does not slam shut,” Mr Hmaidan said. If the talks do not produce a work program that is concrete and meaningful, then the talks' ability to produce a fair and legally binding agreement to deal with climate change after 2020 will be impacted.

Photo courtesy of Climate Action Network