What Next -- Climate Watch

Christian Aid Press release: "Durban Climate Talks: A disastrous outcome for poor people"

Sunday 12th December 2011

Christian aid press release
'This Durban outcome is a compromise which saves the climate talks but endangers people living in poverty,' said Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid's expert on the UN negotiations held this year in Durban, South Africa.

'It is a disastrous, profoundly distressing outcome - the worst I have ever seen from such a process. At a time when scientists are queuing up to warn about terrifying consequences if emissions keep rising, what we have here in Durban is a betrayal of people across the world.

'By giving themselves until 2015 to agree a new deal which only takes effect in 2020, governments are delaying desperately needed action and condeming us all to dangerous warming of much more than 2 degrees.

'Action against climate change in 2020 will come a decade too late for poor people on the frontline - they urgently need it now. Their lives are already ravaged by floods, droughts, failed rains, deadly storms, hunger and disease and we know that these disasters will get worse and more frequent as climate change bites.

'This Durban failure also perpetuates the hideous injustice of climate change, in which the poor people who bear least blame for it are the worst affected.

'In these two tortuous weeks of negotiations, many of the poor, relatively powerless states - the Africa Group, AOSIS and the Least Developed Countries - have showed leadership and flexibility in the seach for a solution.

'But they have been blocked by the governments of some traditional polluters - America, Canada, Russia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, which seem to want to forget their historical responsibility for climate change and to retain their power.

'These governments are protecting their own political interests and the financial interests of big corporate polluters. But ordinary people will pay the price - in money, suffering and lives.
'We will not see the full consequences of this appaling outcome until next year, when governments will have to take many of the decisions they have dodged here in South Africa.'

'This deal rips out the most important part of the Kyoto Protocol - its requirement for emissions cuts to be informed by science, rather than Governments' political convenience. It is this which makes it such a powerful law to prevent climate disaster.

'But in Durban, Governments have turned their backs on science, at a time when we need more than ever to heed its warning - act now or pay a terrible price later.

'They are also turning away from the justice which the Convention itself enshrines, with its recognition of rich countries' special responsibility for climate change and their greater financial ability to fight it.

'What is left is Kyoto in name only. Governments are keeping it on life-support for the sake of the carbon markets but once they have a new deal they will kill it completely.'

'The only notable achievement here in Durban is on the Green Climate Fund. Governments have agreed that the Fund will soon have staff and an office.

'But the Fund remains empty and so countries must keep working to identify new sources of the $100 billion a year which they have already agreed must be available to poor countries by 2020, to help them cope with climate change and pursue sustainable development.

'At present, the Fund remains empty and so can do little to help developing countries cope with the crippling costs of climate change and to develop in cleaner ways which won't greatly exacerbate the crisis.


To talk to Mohamed Adow and for more pictures and information, please contact Rachel Baird: +00 27 (0)7914 56324 and +00 44 (0)7545 501 749.

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty. Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development. Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk

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