Weak deal leaves poor countries in limbo

Not fair. Not ambitious. Not binding. After two weeks of UN climate talks, world leaders have failed to reach the FAB deal that developing countries desperately need.

Developing countries are first and worst affected (Photo courtesy of Tearfund)

Tearfund‘s policy experts have analysed the outcomes so far. Here’s their take:

After two weeks of negotiations United Nations climate talks have failed to reach the ambitious legally binding deal that developing countries desperately needed. It is not yet clear whether a weak US-led compromise text will be accepted by some countries, notably the EU and the world’s poorest countries.

‘A small group of developed countries and advanced developing countries, such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa have cobbled together a weak political declaration on climate change that will fail to cut emissions significantly or provide enough money for developing nations to adapt and develop sustainably.

‘Instead they have cobbled together a flimsy declaration to plaster over the cracks, which is not worth the paper it is written on. This is not a comprehensive deal, and it is not a deal for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries. Many will wonder if they have been sold down the river,’ said Tearfund’s Director of Advocacy, Paul Cook.

‘The human cost of delay has failed to register with the developed world. They have bought themselves time while millions of people facing starvation, disaster and homelessness continue to pay the price. The longer we postpone agreeing a full legal outcome the more we condemn many people to the devastation of lives and livelihoods.’

The loose agreement contains a vague commitment to both keeping temperature rise below two degrees and targets for emissions cuts for developed countries, and little concrete in the way of finance for poor countries.  The non-binding declaration promises short-term finance for developing countries of $30billion up to 2012 and $100billion by 2020, but it is not clear that this money will be new, additional or public.

Tearfund believes that finance for adaptation and mitigation to help poor countries fight climate change and adapt to its consequences needs to be at least $200billion a year by 2020 and developed countries must cut their emissions by 40% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.

Tearfund is wary of the fact that some leaders will want to claim that this is a two degree deal, but warns that the low ambition on reducing emissions means that we are heading for a three or four degree world.

‘Poor countries should be outraged; they rightly expected rich nations to play a leadership role in the negotiations. Instead they ignored the science and looked after their own national interests. Following a fortnight of negotiations and a packed year of climate meetings, don’t be fooled – there is still nothing binding and nothing fair in place.’

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