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UN Climate Talks Open Clouded by Distrust on Pre-2020 Action

UN Climate Talks resumed with a focus on plans for the immediate future clouding optimism on a longer term agreement.

“It’s the pre-2020 action that has to be scaled up to protect food security and stop the worst climate impacts causing wide-spread hunger. It’s the pre-2020 action that was promised to even get this round of talks on a longer-term agreement started.” Meena Raman a negotiations expert with the Third World Network, a Malaysian-based NGO that tracks the talks said at a press conference.

She was referring to the the dual-mandate of the climate negotiations which include both scaling up pre-2020 climate action and agreeing to a longer term treaty, with a deadline of a 2015 summit in Paris.

“Again rich industrialised countries are breaking their clear commitments to scale up their action. They promised in 2012 that they would raise targets here at this meeting -but the Ministerial tomorrow will show we’re actually going backwards.”

Raman said.

“To be clear what President Obama offered before this meeting is not leadership. He is promising in just one sector in 2030 what Al Gore as Vice President promised would happen in the whole US economy by 2012.” Asad Rehman, Head of International Climate at Friends of the Earth EWNI said, referring to analysis of the latest announcement by the Obama administration, and comparing it unfavourably with previous promises made by the United States.

“For Latin America as a region highly vulnerable to climate change it is crucial that the international community reach an agreement that’s actually effect at addressing the global climate crisis.” Martin Vilela of the Bolivian Platform on Climate Change, which is working with regional partners to prepare for the Lima climate summit in December this year.

“The proposals made by rich industrialised countries as we move toward the Lima conference in our region leave much to be desired. They are political postures rather than concrete actions to address the climate. That’s clear as they focus on failed carbon markets instead of setting a safe global limit and then sharing it fairly based on historical responsibility and capability.” Vilela said.

The two week session will include focused technical work on a range of issues, including ” carbon markets” and “loss and damage”, an approach to addressing the very worst climate impacts.

“To set up a mechanism on loss and damage is but a half way won battle unless the mechanism is fully operational immediately to cover the colossal damages that communities in our countries are facing everyday.  The latest IPCC report  once again warns of accelerated extreme events of sea level rise, drought and floods which therefore calls for a well organized mechanism that can respond to the expected devastation.” Azeb Girmai, Director of LDC-Watch Africa, of Ethiopia said.

“Europeans have seen how the failed carbon markets waste money without reducing emissions. The UN must not allow the failed experiment to be exported. Instead what people are demanding are complete bans on the dirtiest and most dangerous energy sources like coal and fracking. Technical work on new carbon markets is a dangerous distraction from the real action of cutting emissions.” Rehman concluded.

Negotiations will continue for two weeks, with divisions over the best process and the basis for negotiations expected to flare up, fueled by the failure of rich industrialised countries to increase their 2020 climate targets.

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