UN climate negotiations 'a failure', say Christian charities

Published 25 November 2013  |  
(AP)
A vendor rides her tricycle near a coal-fired power plant in Beijing in this photo dated Friday, April 12, 2013.

Christian Aid and SCIAF have branded the UN climate summit in Warsaw "frustrating", saying that it has failed to deliver a fair deal for the world's poorest countries.

Development agencies were calling for concrete progress towards an ambitious and fair global climate deal at the conference, but were left disappointed at its close over weekend.

Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid's Senior Climate Change Advisor, has labelled some countries as "playing dirty", saying that tactics were used to ensure good deals for themselves at the expense of poorer nations.

"This climate summit was like a frustrating game of football...Some people may want to blame the UNFCCC process for the lack of progress, but that would be like blaming the pitch because the game is going badly.

"There is nothing wrong with the pitch - it is the players who are at fault. Some were playing dirty, like Australia and Japan. As for the hosts, Poland ended up scoring own goals with its shameful coal summit and blocking tactics within the EU group," he said.

He did admit that the decision to begin to deal with 'loss and damage' inflicted on communities already experiencing climate change would go some way to help those countries who are the least responsible, but are suffering the worst consequences, although he called this progress "moderate".

However, SCIAF have asserted that developing countries need regular sources of finance in order to protect their most vulnerable people. Policy Officer Jo O'Neill said that the summit did "little to clarify where this money will come from".

Mr Adow went on to call it "a missed opportunity", saying that progress was "painfully slow", and a clear plan is still needed in order to fairly divide the global effort of responding to climate change.

"We need someone to step up and provide real leadership to ensure we have a clean and safe planet for future generations," he said.

"What was agreed...does not provide the solid foundation the future agreement badly needs, with countries avoiding early commitments and instead opting to allow nations to set out their planned action at a later date," commented Ms O'Neill.

"If we are to achieve a global deal in 2015 that safeguards the needs and rights of the world's poorest people, we need others to make the right climate choices," she said.

Christian Aid have praised the public support for those suffering the devastating consequences of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, but have called on politicians to match that support with action to ensure the prevention of such extreme weather in the future.

Mr Adow also commended UK Energy and Climate Change Minister, Ed Davey, for his announcement that the British government would scrap overseas investment in coal.

In response to the NGOs that walked out of the climate talks in protest against slow progress and a lack of ambition among world leaders, Mr Adow said that Christian Aid "shares [their] anger...and agrees with the spirit of what they did".

However, he said the charity was committed to the process, and remained in the conference in order to ensure richer countries were held accountable for their actions.

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