The Bali Roadmap: Driving ahead or steering off course?
Oxfam says, ‘It’s up to U Now’ Under unprecedented scrutiny around the world—in rich communities and poor—the Ministers of Environment from 189 countries arrived in Bali for the three final days of critical negotiation at this year’s UN Climate Change Conference. A deal is on the table that could allow Ministers to say they have done what they needed to do: seal negotiations that will result in a fair and adequate climate deal for the world as a whole within two years.
Oxfam says, ‘It’s up to U Now’
Under unprecedented scrutiny around the world—in rich communities and poor—the Ministers of Environment from 189 countries arrived in Bali for the three final days of critical negotiation at this year’s UN Climate Change Conference. A deal is on the table that could allow Ministers to say they have done what they needed to do: seal negotiations that will result in a fair and adequate climate deal for the world as a whole within two years. But the outcome hangs in the balance, and that outcome is not just about numbers on a graph—it is about the lives of tens of millions of people in the developing world.
Unless Ministers break the impasse and set course for the urgent post-2012 negotiations we all need, Bali will have failed to build on the momentum of the past year. “Stern did the economics, the IPCC did the science and the UN’s Human Development Report put the human impacts of climate change in stark terms. The Bali conference now needs to show that politicians have been listening and that they take their responsibilities seriously,” said Oxfam Climate Policy Adviser Antonio Hill.
People around the world are taking action to deal with the climate crisis, whether they are farmers in Malawi, fisherwomen in the Philippines or frequent fliers in Europe questioning their carbon footprints. As Ministers enter the plenary today, they will trail past 12 life-size images, organized by Oxfam, of people in poor and rich countries who are confronting climate change in every way they can. These women and men are challenging the United Nations, holding signs that say, “It’s up to U Now.”
The critical responsibility for Ministers is to deliver a climate mandate for a post-2012 regime. The key elements of the deal must be: actions that put climate change adaptation on an equal footing with mitigation; rich country commitments to reduce greenhouse gases by 25-40% from the 1990 level by 2020; an agreement that global emissions peak and begin to decline before 2015; and commitments to provide assistance with the technology and financing urgently needed to help developing countries cope with climate change and put them on a low-carbon path to development.
Progress has already been made. Earlier this week, delegates agreed to get the Adaptation Fund up and running under the authority of the Kyoto Protocol with close supervision provided by a 16-member Board that will represent a balance of rich and poor countries. While many developing countries are still concerned that the programming of funds will be under the Global Environment Facility, the new board structure will increase the accountability of decision making and make funding available with fewer strings attached.
“There is a real risk that the Adaptation Fund will end up with a workable structure but be puny in size. It will cost at least $50bn a year for all developing countries to adapt to climate change. The fund is only set to deliver a few hundred million—which is peanuts compared to the scale of the need,” said Hill.
The injustice of climate change is that the small island states, the Least Developed Countries and other developing countries suffer the worst impacts of a problem they did not cause. Poor countries are going to have to find ways to pull themselves out of poverty and develop cleanly but they need support to do so, not targets. This is uncharted territory and the onus is on rich countries to assist. Developing countries would move far faster if they could use low carbon energy, manufacturing and transport technologies, or access existing technologies vital for adaptation efforts, such as improved weather forecasting. But a few key countries, notably the US, Canada and Japan, are using greedy old tricks to block action.
“Oxfam believes these issues have to be on the table in Bali, not as bargaining chips, but as required elements,” said Hill. “Rich countries have created the problem that is forcing poor countries to cope with climate change. Financing and access to technology are a matter of compensation, not of aid,” added Hill.
“Convention principles demand mandatory requirements of adaptation financing for poor countries. Do rich countries think we can solve the problem without these transfers?” said Hill.
The heat of the Bali sun is not the only thing that will have Ministers sweating as they confront the challenge this week. “We’re in the last lap and negotiators are still driving in circles around the key issues. This conference can’t be allowed to fail. Ministers need to steer an effective course to deal with the climate crisis,” added Hill.
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