Development agencies looking for progress on global climate deal

A labourer plucks tea on the Amchong tea estate in northeastern India, where tea growers say climate change has led to a drop in productivity and altered the flavour of their brewAP

Catholic development agencies are calling for concrete progress towards an ambitious and fair global climate deal at the UN Climate Summit in Warsaw.

The call comes from members of the International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity (CIDSE), an alliance of Catholic development agencies working together for global justice.

CIDSE Secretary General Bernd Nilles says Typhoon Haiyan has served as a wake up call to remind the global community that climate change has a real and devastating impact.

"It is an urgent call on all people of good will to show solidarity and to reduce their CO2-emissions as well as on governments to fulfill their responsibilities and commitments towards the international community, first and foremost to the most vulnerable people that are currently suffering violent climate impacts," he said.

The UN conference is widely regarded as an important step on the way to a fair, global climate deal and a crucial opportunity for developed countries to commit to greater emission cuts by 2020.

CIDSE Policy and Advocacy Officer for Climate Justice Emilie Johann says the conference "must be a milestone towards climate justice".

The alliance has sent a large delegation to the Warsaw climate negotiations, including high-level representatives of Church and lay organisations from all over the world.

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) is among those urging world leaders to make significant progress at the conference.

As the negotiations continue, members of CIDSE say it is crucial that governments "move forward on the critical issues of the envisaged global agreement, ramping up short term ambition and taking concrete commitments on climate finance".

SCIAF's Philippa Bonella said: "This year's UN climate summit opportunity for the EU and wealthy nations to take seriously our common responsibility for the earth and our environment. Current climate targets are inadequate and set us on course for a much warmer world, with dangerous consequences particularly for poor nations."

She said her team is motivated to campaign by the hope that "urgent action by the international community will safeguard the environment for the poorest people".

"Financial assistance from the richest nations is urgently needed to help developing nations adapt to the impacts of climate change and to help them develop on a low-carbon path. Rich nations have already promised to provide $100bn per year in climate finance by 2020, but very little of this has materialised. It's very important that these promises are made real," she concluded.

The Warsaw Climate Change Conference has entered into its second week of negotiations after opening on the 11 November and is scheduled to close on 22 November.

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