The time is fast approaching for the UK and its European partners to name and shame the United States for its blatant attempts to derail any meaningful international agreement on climate change, says the international development agency Christian Aid.
With environment ministers from across the globe having been working in Bali to agree on a ‘roadmap’ to prevent climate catastrophe, the time for softly-softly diplomacy is fast coming to an end, the UK churches' agency declares.
Comments made by US representatives in Bali on 12 December have laid bare the fact that their only aim is to obstruct any plan that will require significant action by the rich nations that are overwhelmingly responsible for global warming, says Christian Aid. Chief among those culprits is the United States itself, it believes, in spite of emollient words from leading US representatives since.
Andrew Pendleton, Christian Aid’s senior climate change policy analyst, said: "If European ministers are serious about tackling climate change, then the days when they can stand discreetly by while the United States shamelessly wrecks the negotiations by rejecting any mention of clear and binding targets for reductions in rich countries’ greenhouse gas emissions are numbered.
"Environment Secretary Hilary Benn must stand ready to expose the United States’ astoundingly irresponsible and shortsighted actions for what they are, and to speak up for the world’s poor, who desperately need Britain’s moral leadership at this time.
"Bali is a chance for governments to act together to prevent a climate catastrophe, with countries taking action according to their responsibility for global warming and their ability to pay for its solution.
"After a year of calamitous disaster, in which the lives of many of the least responsible people have been claimed by ever more ferocious weather, in which scientists have spelled things out clearly enough for a three-year-old to comprehend and in which business is saying that it needs a clear, ambitious agreement, Christian Aid fears that the politicians are poised to fail horribly.
"This appears to be what the United States is actually working for. If the UK and the rest of the EU want a different outcome at Bali, then they must work to isolate the US and to support their Indonesian conference hosts."
Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told the conference that without the participation of the US, any climate change agreement would not be effective.