Massive public pressure needed to rescue climate deal after Warsaw farce and fiasco

Only massive public pressure can rescue a climate deal, warned Oxfam today, as the Warsaw negotiations drew to a close after a fortnight of farce and fiasco.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam said:

“The Warsaw talks opened amidst the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. It is a warning of what climate change could mean for us all yet governments barely seemed to notice.”

“Oxfam walked out of the Warsaw climate talks because enough is enough. Commitments were being flouted. Governments with the power to break the deadlock were acting recklessly and the pervasive influence of dirty energy was wrecking the prospect of a food secure future.

At the talks Japan joined Canada in back-peddling on promised emission reductions. Australia, the US and EU have refused to say how they will deliver on their commitment to scale up climate finance.   And the US, Australia, Japan, Canada, China, India, Brazil and others have pushed through a blue print for a new climate deal which will allow countries to choose their own weak emissions reduction targets. 

“Very few countries can leave Warsaw with their head held high. We have witnessed a race to the bottom in these negotiations and it’s the world’s poorest people who stand to lose the most,” said Byanyima.   

“It’s time to press the reset button. We need to take these critical decisions for our planets future out from behind closed doors and give them back to the people. A global climate deal still offers the best hope of avoiding climate catastrophe but it’s going to take every one of us to make it happen.”

NOTES

Finance: Rich countries made no clear commitments to scale up climate finance to $100bn per year by 2020 - a promise made 4 years ago in Copenhagen; and no deadline was set to make the first payments into the Green Climate Fund. Warsaw just about rescued the Adaptation Fund with a total of $100 million in pledges by 8 countries - although this is just a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed (Nigeria’s adaptation costs are estimated to be around US$11 billion per year between now and 2020). 

Emissions: The gap between projected emissions levels in 2020 and the level needed to keep warming below the 2C target will likely increase as Japan back-tracked on its previous commitment to emissions cuts. For the period after 2020, a vague roadmap to a new climate deal in Paris in 2015 was agreed but there is little to stop countries setting weak targets for emissions cuts in the new treaty. 

Loss and Damage: A new mechanism was established to address losses and damage from climate impacts where adaptation is not possible. In a final stand-off, the US forced it under existing adaptation arrangements, weakening the support it can provide to developing countries. These arrangements will be reviewed at COP22 in 2016.

Contact information: 

Anna Ratcliff:   +44 (0) 7796 993 288 / anna.ratcliff@oxfaminternational.org / @anna_ratcliff1

You may also like

Blog: End this madness: Start investing in clean energy now

5 natural disasters that beg for climate action