Saturday, February 14, 2015

UN Climate Talks Advance

Need for clear outcome on pre-2020 climate action
 Geneva, Switzerland -- The first negotiation session of UN talks on climate closed with an increasing focus on the need for immediate action on climate change.

The talks produced the first draft of a possible "Paris Agreement" which will be negotiated throughout the year, before being finally agreed in the French capital in December.

The final day of talks were heated over exchanges about 'carbon markets' and as hundreds of organisations from across the world warned of risks to the right to food if misguided policies on land use and climate are applied.

Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development, in a briefing to the press, quoted the letter saying, "land is essential for our food and our livelihoods. It is the basis of our communities, our cultures and our spiritualities... We cannot allow policies and actions that will further threaten peoples' rights to food, to land and the commons."

Commenting on other areas of interest at the negotiations, observers said the following:

On pre-2020 action

"Geneva drew a line in the sand between those governments who are taking the warnings of climate science seriously, and are looking to protect the wellbeing of their citizens and those who seem more interested in protecting short term 'business as usual' interests. Those that recognize the urgency of the climate crisis demanded concrete steps to increase action in the critical pre-2020 period through stronger targets, more finance and technology transfers and by focusing on transforming our polluting energy system. The outcome is still up in the air but it's clear that deeper emissions reductions in the short term will need to be part of any effective agreement in Paris." Asad Rehman, Head of International Climate, Friends of the Earth (EWNI). 

On draft text produced:

"There is now a draft text produced in a transparent process, that's a basis for serious negotiations in June. If they continue with this way of working we may avoid the controversies of last minute texts that haunt past UN summits. However, it was concerning to see developed countries blocking a proper discussion on the need for urgent pre-2020 action." Meena Raman, Negotiations Expert at Third World Network.

On the longterm goal of negotiations and  the emissions budget:

"We welcome the fact that strong, clear proposals on setting a long term emissions budget and sharing it fairly are in the draft text for the first time. These proposals from Bolivia and Ethiopia are getting serious attention. Agreeing on a global target on the limit to pollution is essential. Persistent refusal by developed countries to do so shows they are the real obstacles to solving the climate crisis." Lidy Nacpil, Coordinator at Jubilee south Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development.

On false 'solutions' - land issues and carbon markets

"Africans are increasingly worried about some of the so-called climate 'solutions' that are proposed here. Some of these failed experiments like soil carbon markets and land use in mitigation are thinly disguised code for incentives to grab up African land as we have seen happening over the last couple of years. Governments must learn from the biofuels disaster and stop such proposals in their tracks." Mithika Mwenda, General Secretary of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.

On the issue of adapting to climate impacts and 'loss and damage':

"Given the lack of seriousness in proposed climate targets from rich industrialized countries, we must consider what these weak targets mean for the real world. Weak targets mean devastating climate impacts and developing countries will need to address those harms, supported by  compensation and other measures. The issue of loss and damage and compensation is still very much on the table in Paris and will be as long as proposed climate action remains so weak." Harjeet Singh, International Manager, Resilience and Climate change.

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