The UK and the rest of Europe must stop making excuses and blaming others for its failure to commit to tackling global warming, British-based global development agency Christian Aid says today (Tuesday 6 December 2011) as ministers take over from their negotiators at the climate talks in Durban.
"The EU is not fooling anyone with its dishonest claim that there is no point keeping Kyoto alive unless other countries also commit to action," commented Mohamed Adow, the development agency's expert on the climate talks.
"That is disingenuous of the EU," he added. "Clearly, any emissions cuts are better than none and by committing itself to Kyoto, Europe will make a significant contribution to the reductions that we so desperately need."
"Importantly, it will also help to build the precious trust that is needed among other Governments. That trust will, in turn, help create the new climate treaty covering a much wider range of countries," said Adow.
He went on: "Trust is currently low because developed countries, which agreed to take the lead in combating climate change under the UN Convention on Climate Change, have not made a good faith effort to do so.
"So EU ministers should stop spinning and start acting today, here in Durban. It is up to them to keep Kyoto alive by signing up to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
"Anything else would be allowing the best - a treaty covering all countries, which is currently impossible because of the lack of trust - to be the enemy of the good. The good is the Kyoto Protocol we already have."
Mr Adow added that rather than berating large developing countries such as India and China, the EU should focus its disapproval on the major polluters which bear historical responsibility for climate change. They include the US, Canada, Russia and Japan.
And he echoed other campaigning organisations' calls for the United States to leave the Durban talks, unless it is prepared to start being constructive.
"It appears the US has no mandate to be constructive so it should leave - it doesn't care what happens," said Mr Adow.
On the new draft text which has emerged under the 'Long-term Co-operative Action' (LCA) track of the negotiations, Mr Adow expressed concern that it did not list the emissions reductions pledges that countries have already made.
"It seems they do not want to have a debate about their existing pledges,' he said. 'But how can countries hide their heads in the sand, when they know their pledges are not nearly enough to keep the global temperature rise within safe limits?
"The UN itself has concluded that these pledges will put us track for a world which is as much as five degrees warmer.
"For the countries which made them, it seems that their Cancun pledges are the ceiling but for us, they are the floor. If Governments want to avoid dangerous climate change of more than two degrees, then they have to do more, and urgently," said the Christian Aid expert.