Western governments, unmoved by worsening climate predictions, have ended UN climate change talks in Doha, Qatar, by sticking firmly to their positions.
ACT Alliance head of delegation, Mattias Söderberg, says developed countries have failed to reduce carbon emissions or to offer financial support to developing countries struggling with the effects of climate change.
“The result of COP18 (Council of Parties) is deeply concerning. We have to remember that no matter how complicated the political negotiations are, the effects of climate change hit the poor and vulnerable people of the world the most,” Söderberg said.
The conference instead ended with only the lowest level of agreement. A new commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only legally-binding pledge by developed countries to reduce their carbon emissions, has been agreed but would have only minor effect, Söderberg said.
“COP18 has failed to deliver any kind of step forward towards low carbon development for the world. While we welcome a new commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, we know for sure that it won’t have any effect on climate. It is important only because it is a key brick in the political game towards a global agreement.
“A key problem is that targets to mitigate the effects of climate change are still way too low. Parties must reflect on this when they get back to their countries. Urgent need for national efforts to increase ambition to reduce emissions is required.”
One of the most difficult things to agree on in Doha was finance to support developing countries adapt to the warming climate. Most developed countries were hesitant to commit.
“While the announcement by several countries to provide funds for climate change is most welcome, it is still not clear whether these funds are new and additional or just transfer money from development budgets to climate change.
“The agreement about climate finance in the coming years is weak. Imagine that I badly damage your car but only want to pay for new wheels as compensation. Most developing countries have very low emissions, yet they have no influence on how the climate bill should be payed.”
In cases where adaptation alone is unable to address the worst effects of climate change, compensation for loss and damage is fundamental.
“People who are forced to leave their homes, and possibly their countries, due to climate change must get support and compensation. We welcome that COP18 put loss and damage on the agenda, and that there now is agreement to develop a concrete approach for further action.”
Christian World Service is a member of ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) It is a network of more than 130 churches and related organisations working together for positive, sustainable change in the lives of people affected by poverty and injustice through coordinated and effective humanitarian, development and advocacy initiatives.
December 10, 2012