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Urgent action is now needed to get the global deal back on track
The UN climate talks are off the life-support machine, following a last-minute agreement that gives the Kyoto Protocol a lifeline, says international agency Oxfam. It establishes a global Climate Fund and, while falling short of the emissions cuts needed, lays out a path to move towards them – crucially moving the world closer to the global deal that eluded last year’s summit in Copenhagen.
The deal’s Climate Fund will be designed by a committee with a strong voice for developing countries, which should ensure that life-saving finance will be delivered to those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The Climate Fund will be a major channel for adaptation finance, helping to plug the gap in adaptation funding, so that vulnerable communities have the resources they urgently need.
Meanwhile, the emissions cuts pledged after Copenhagen have been set as a minimum, with an expectation to raise them according to the demands of climate science. Urgent work is needed in the coming months to raise the targets to the scale needed to avoid catastrophic climate change, and put in place the compliance measures that will ensure real emissions reductions take place.
Oxfam International Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs said: “Negotiators have resuscitated the UN talks and put them on a road to recovery. This deal shows the UN negotiations can deliver. There is now hope for action to help the millions of poor people who are already struggling to survive the effects of climate change.
“With lives on the line, we must now build on this progress. Long-term funding must be secured so the Climate Fund can start to deliver, helping vulnerable communities protect themselves for the climate impacts of today and tomorrow.”
There are issues that need to be addressed, including finding the sources of new, long-term money to help fill the Climate Fund. An opportunity has been missed to establish levies on international aviation and shipping, which could have raised substantial new resources for fighting climate change in poor countries. This issue must be revisited with urgency next year. The concerns of women should be put at the heart of the new fund to ensure that those who are among the most affected, receive the funding they need.
Now we need a renewal of political will to drive these negotiations forward to a global deal. Many of the most difficult issues remain. We will not be able to offer a safe future for vulnerable women, men and children unless governments realize that we swim together or sink together. Our challenge is to elevate our vision and commit to the deep emissions cuts that are urgently needed.