Industrialized countries sabotaging climate talks through inertia

Rich countries' inertia is sabotaging a climate deal and abandoning millions of the worlds poorest people to a desperate future said Oxfam on the final day of international climate talks in Bonn today.

Together with over 450 development, environmental and social organizations from across the world the international agency called for world leaders, meeting at the G8 Summit in Italy next month, to come to Copenhagen ready to strike a deal that will prevent a human catastrophe.

The machinery of the talks is working but a lack of political will from industrialized countries has blocked progress and undermined poor country confidence in the negotiations – only a political commitment for ambitious action at the highest level can save the talks said Oxfam. 

Antonio Hill, Oxfam’s Policy Advisor said: “In the fight against climate change we need the generals on the battlefield. World leaders meeting at the G8 in Italy must promise to come to Copenhagen ready to strike a deal that will prevent a human catastrophe.”

“Poor countries have been left stranded – millions of people face, hunger, disease and disaster but the countries that created the nightmare are refusing to lift a finger to prevent it becoming a reality,” said Hill.  “Poor countries were dealt another blow this week when Japan announced a pathetically low target for cutting emissions by just 8 percent on 1990 levels by 2020.”

In the final session developing countries sharply criticized industrialized countries’ contribution to the talks. Over the last two weeks rich nations have failed to set an overall target for mid term emission reductions – one of the main aims of the meeting – or put forward concrete proposals on funding to help poor countries reduce emissions and adapt to a changing climate. “Rich country delegates have spent two weeks talking but have done nothing on the issues that really matter. Rich countries may be kidding themselves they are working towards a deal but they are not kidding anyone else,” said Hill.

Despite the failure of rich countries to engage in Bonn there are a huge number of proposals on the table – some of which could still add up to a fair and adequate deal. “There are two deals in the hundreds of pages of the negotiating text sitting with governments today. One will secure our future – the other will bring disaster. World leaders need to get a grip on the talks to ensure the right deal is made in Copenhagen,” said Hill.

Notes to editors

Oxfam is a founding member of the 'tck tck tck' campaign.  The campaign brings together an unprecedented alliance of faith groups, NGOs, trade unions and individual. As world leaders prepare to strike a climate deal in Copenhagen in December, and aims to harness the voices of people from around the globe to demand an ambitious, fair and binding climate deal which reflects the latest science.

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