un climate talks: clash on climate goal
As rich countries clash with poorer nations over the ‘shared vision’ – or overall goal - of the UN climate change negotiations, Friends of the Earth International Climate and Energy coordinator Stephanie Long said:
"The international climate agreement is finely balanced to meet the ultimate objectives of stabilising the climate and ensuring sustainable development. But in Poznan major developed countries - the US, the EU, Japan, Australia - appear to want to change and revise the Convention instead of addressing their failure to take historical and current responsibility to implement the obligations of the Convention.
“To conquer climate change, rich industrialised countries must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020 – and provide finance and technology to enable poorer countries to develop low carbon sustainable economies.
“Developing countries are reminding the richer countries that they have so far not supported them in low carbon development, and have also failed to take strong action themselves on climate change. The developing countries are calling this the 'implementation failure' of the convention.
“It is a stark reminder of the impacts of climate change to hear small island states call for deep emissions cuts by industrialised countries of 40 per cent by 2020 – these countries are literally at risk of sinking into the sea and rich countries must listen to this wake-up call.”
The most vulnerable nations – including small island states - are calling for ambitious targets of returning greenhouse gas emissions concentrations to 350 parts per million by mid-century and to keep global temperature increase to less than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Current greenhouse gas emissions have billowed to over 380 parts per million of greenhouse gas emissions.
The 'Group of 77' developing nations bloc and China are holding strong with their demands which put the onus upon rich, industrialised countries that have reaped the benefit from over 150 years of carbon-intensive industrial development.
The level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is causing global climate change and the lag time of emissions in the atmosphere means that we will be experiencing the consequence of today's emissions for the next 50 years.
How to assess the Poznań outcome
Friends of the Earth International will assess the Poznan negotiations and outcome based on the following points:
- Will the industrialised world demonstrate its commitment and leadership to reducing emissions? Industrialised (Annex I) countries must commit to emissions reduction targets of at least 40% reductions on 1990 levels by 2020.
- Will industrialised countries commit to this target without buying their way out of emission reduction obligations through damaging initiatives such as 'carbon offsetting'? Friends of the Earth International rejects offsetting as it wards off real measures to tackle climate change. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has well-documented devastating social, environmental and human rights impacts in the South.
- Will Parties in Poznan commit to a timetable of work that will ensure a strong post 2012 agreement finalised in Copenhagen in December 2009?
- Will Parties in Poznan agree to develop a suite of financial mechanisms that will provide reliable and consistent funds through means other than carbon offsetting? These funds are needed for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries as incentive to move away from a carbon-dependent development model (used by industrialised nations) towards low carbon economies.
- Will Parties focus on clean renewable energy and energy efficiency, and reject false solutions such as carbon capture and storage, large dams, nuclear energy and agrofuels?
- Will Parties reject proposals for carbon trading mechanisms for forest conservation and instead support community based-forest governance that upholds the rights of Indigenous Peoples?
for more information from Poznan, Poland contact:
Friends of the Earth US International Climate Campaigner Kate Horner:
+1 360 319 9444 (US mobile number)
Joseph Zacune, Friends of the Earth International Climate Coordinator,
Tel: +44 79 67 87 75 93 (UK mobile number) or + 48 785401116 (Polish
mobile number valid until Dec. 13 only)
Stephanie Long, Friends of the Earth International Climate Coordinator:
Tel: +48 698 327 785 (Polish mobile number valid until Dec. 13 only)
Friends of the Earth International media line: +48 662 964285 (Polish
mobile number valid until Dec. 13 only) or +31-51005630 (Dutch mobile
number valid until Dec. 13 only).