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UN Climate Talks Achieve Little

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WARSAW, POLAND – UN climate talks, which ended in Warsaw over the weekend, have achieved little save for a lukewarm statement that delegates hope will form the agenda when they resume in Paris in 2015, say experts.

Global civil society leaders have however vowed to redouble their efforts to raise the alarm bell on the failure of governments to confront the planetary emergency of climate change as the summit closed twenty-four hours behind schedule.

“Civil society walked out on mass of the Warsaw climate talks to highlight that fossil fuel industry lobbyists have too many governments in their pockets –  those lobbyists would be delighted with their return on investment today,” said Asad Rehman, Head of International Climate at Friends of the Earth.

“The blocking by rich industrialised countries has been disgraceful. They blocked any reference to a specific number on pollution controls, such as the 40% called for by the IPCC. Similarly they rejected a target on financing of $70 billion by 2016,” said Meena Raman, a negotiations expert at Third World Network.

She added: “The ratcheting up of pre-2020 action is an equally important outcome of these negotiations and yet countries led by the US refused to have any specific numbers included on pollution targets and finance. An abysmal moral failure by the richest people in human history.

“The agreement here is for countries to discuss their contributions to the international effort toward the ultimate objective of the Convention. That means that post-2020 contributions will have to add up to avoid 1.5C of warming. The negotiations next year will have to grapple with the emissions budget required and how to share it fairly based on historical responsibility and capacities, if the world is truly to avoid dangerous climate change.”

Rehman added: “People across the world were clear this was to be a clean versus dirty energy conference. There was a chance to choose clean energy but the word energy is nowhere in the ADP text. Instead there’s another technical talkshop. Why not listen to people who have real people-focused energy solutions and raise them up.

“There was a concerted push for a globally funded feed-in-tariff here but that call from the poorest people in the world, those with no access to energy, was roundly ignored. Another victory for the fossil fuel corporations, who just so happen to be the official sponsors of the conference.”

Another expert from the civic society, Lidy Nacpil, a director at Jubille South, said “This so-called ‘finance roadmap’ lacks a specific number as that was blocked by the US and others entirely. It provides none of the clarity required and predictability required. In Warsaw rich governments have refused to recognise their legal and moral responsibility to provide international climate finance.

“The Philippines and Filipinos in our resilient response to the devastating typhoon Haiyan put the issue of ‘loss and damage’ on the front page of newspapers and these talks. But the suffering of people does not seem to have been enough. It was heartening to see the US fold to pressure from people across the world in allowing the word ‘’mechanism’ into the outcome and recognising loss and damage is beyond adaptation.

“However, instead of establishing a system that could respond to the new climate realities, they’ve established more talks and given no real resources. It’s reflective of a broader outcome that is deaf to the needs of impacted peoples and the urgency of the problem.”

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