Europe should lead climate talks, says Christian Aid

By staff writers
10 Oct 2011

Governments have made disappointingly little progress at the latest international climate talks in Panama and hopes of breaking the global deadlock now rest on the European Union, says UK-based international development agency Christian Aid.

"Fewer than 50 days remain before this year's major climate negotiations open in Durban and yet there has been little if any progress in Panama on the big issues," said Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid's Senior Adviser on Global Alliances, who attended the talks in Panama last week.

"So we are looking to European environment ministers' meeting in Luxembourg (starting 10 October) to back an extension of the world's only existing law on climate change, the Kyoto Protocol.

"I urge those ministers to use their power to galvanise wider international support for Kyoto, without which the world faces climate anarchy - a terrifying situation at a time when global emissions must urgently be stabilised and reduced in order to prevent dangerous climate change.

"I also ask them to remember that Kyoto also embodies climate justice - the principle that the rich countries which did most to cause the problem bear the greatest responsibility for cutting their emissions and helping poorer countries to cope with climate change."

Christian Aid is also encouraged by the findings of a new Eurobarometer poll, which suggests that people in Europe consider climate change to be the second most serious problem facing the world today.

Poverty, hunger and lack of drinking water were chosen as the most serious problem by 28 per cent of respondents, while climate change was selected by 20 per cent, followed by the economic crisis (16 per cent) and international terrorism (11 per cent).

The poll also shows that in the EU, people see national governments as most responsible for tackling climate change (selected by 41 per cent of respondents), followed by the EU itself (35 per cent) and business and industry (35 per cent).

"I hope Europe's environment ministers will be emboldened by this news of their citizens' concern about climate change and their view that it is a problem Governments must tackle," added Mr Adow.

"While the world’s richest countries fail to agree an international climate deal, people living in poverty are being ravaged by extreme weather events."

Mr Adow also urged Europe to lead the rich world forward without waiting for the US.

"Unfortunately the rest of the world has to move without the US because at the moment, the US cannot deliver the emissions cuts or funds the rest of the world needs - and engagement with it will lead to race to the bottom. We need Europe to lead the way."

[Ekk/2]

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