Oxfam calls for action on climate change at Davos

Published: 23 January 2008

Business and political leaders gathering for the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos this week must capitalize on the momentum generated in Bali, where agreement was reached that all countries should cut their carbon emissions, said international agency Oxfam today. 

“The outcome of the UN climate meeting in Bali was heartening but, without a clear range for global emissions cuts, the deal may fail to keep us from the brink of a 2°C rise which is dangerous change. Similarly, the new adaptation fund is welcome but with estimated adaptation costs exceeding $50 billion annually, rich countries must start putting serious money forward,” said Oxfam Director, Barbara Stocking, who is attending the Forum.

“A concerted push from Davos participants could help to concentrate minds and ensure that warm words transform into real action, now. The private sector must support a global binding agreement, as well as reduce its own emissions and help to support technology transfer to developing countries.”

On the opening day of Davos, the European Union will publish a package of measures outlining how it will cut carbon emissions and tighten up its trading scheme. Oxfam is concerned that emissions cuts – calculated at 20% unless non-EU countries come on board – will not be not enough to keep global warming below 2°C and that plans to increase use of biofuels fail to take into account the potential impact on poor people's livelihoods, food security, biodiversity and land rights.

Stocking: “We are concerned about the potential impact of rising food prices and increased food insecurity on people in developing countries. The combined effects of erratic weather, increased energy and input prices, changing consumption patterns in emerging markets like China and India, and a rush for biofuels is pushing food prices up and poor people will suffer most.”

Other issue on the agenda at Davos will include World Trade Organisation negotiations, currently at a stalemate. Trade Ministers will meet informally on the sidelines of Davos on Saturday to discuss whether a deal is possible this year.

Stocking: “Poor countries need fairer trade rules. The meeting on Saturday may be able to unlock the negotiations but the process should be more transparent and inclusive. A deal should not be pushed through for the sake of it. Rich countries need to change their attitudes and put development at the centre of their concerns.”

As the turbulence on financial markets led to increasing speculation of the potential for a global recession, Stocking said: “We hope that companies do not draw back from meeting their environmental and social responsibilities in the face of potential market turbulence or slowed growth. Investments in these areas should not be viewed as an optional extra for good times only. They should be seen as an integral part good business practice.”

Contact Information

For more information or to set up an interview with Barbara Stocking at Davos, please contact Amy Barry on +44 (0)7980 664397 (cell)