Ministers urged to pull out all the stops at Cancun climate talks

By staff writers
December 6, 2010

Ministers arriving in Cancun are being urged to pull out the stops for progress towards a 'binding and fair deal' on climate change.

New negotiating texts from the first week of UNFCCC talks in Cancun, Mexico made baby-steps on defining key issues say campaigners. Now aid agencies are calling on ministers who are arriving for the High Level Segment to ramp up the ambition and put foundations in place for 2011.

CAFOD head of policy Gwen Barry said: "Cancun certainly isn't over yet. The ministers are about to sit down at the table and they have the mandate and authority to go that bit further than the first week delegates.

"At present, due to the Mexican presidency's tireless work, we've got less political chest-bumping, more constructive noises and two new texts from the twin tracks that may not jolt us forward, but definitely shuffle in the right direction.

"It's a big week for arriving ministers. They need to get past the raft of extreme position options that have been proposed in the new Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA) and Kyoto Protocol texts, and find a middle way. It will be hard, but Cancun could still deliver for the poorest."

At Cancun, CAFOD is calling for all parties to agree a shared vision including long-term goals on mitigation, technology transfer, capacity building and finance according to the principles of common but differentiated responsibility. On mitigation, parties need to agree aggregate reductions of more than 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, or the path to negotiating these by COP17, the agency says.

Cafod also wants the EU to commit to a second period of the Kyoto Protocol and a technical paper produced on the human and ecological impact of global warming at 1.5C compared to 2C.

It is also urging the raising of public finance by developed countries to meet the scale of addressing climate change. This money would be additional to ODA and would not compete with existing national budgets.

The aid agency also says that the establishment of a single Global Climate Fund could channel most of the resources harnessed through the UNFCCC process. This would be publicly funded, impose no conditionality, be in the form of grants ,not loans, be scalable to meet development needs, adhere to internationally agreed human rights and environmental standards, be directly accessible by marginalised communities and developing countries, be transparent and accountable under the authority of the COP (Conference of Parties) and strictly adhere to gender justice and equality throughout.

Tearfund’s Head of Policy, Laura Webster, said: "We came into these talks hoping that the foundations for a fair global climate deal would be laid, ahead of next year’s conference in South Africa. Instead, we are at the half way point and there is still a disconnect between the urgent need to halt runaway climate change and the current pace of the negotiations."

She said that the new climate fund was being blocked by the "disgraceful bargaining tactics of some developed countries". The notion that developing countries have to jump through unnecessary hoops before developed countries make strong commitments was wrong, Webster continued.

"Rich countries cannot continue to behave as though they are uninformed of the stark climate realities caused by of years of their industrialisation.

"Failure to agree on a new climate fund, with money committed, is a decision to disregard the millions of people living in poverty around the world hit hardest by a changing climate."


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