BONN, Germany – Civil society observers were on Friday sceptical of progress made after a week of UN climate talks ended.
The talks were supposed to conduct a technical examination of opportunities to reduce emissions in the energy sector prior to 2020, but it was unclear if governments would be acting on the recommendations.
“This week the UN climate talks began discussing some practical solutions to transform our energy systems and bring sustainable energy to the billions without. This is the chance for governments to act in the interests of people and the planet and support community-powered solutions to the climate crisis,” said Asad Rehman, Head of International Climate of Friends of the Earth (EWNI).
“People from Europe through to Africa are fighting for community controlled sustainable energy systems. These governments need to commit to advancing these peoples’ proposals rather than just paying lip service through ineffective talk-shops. The June session of these talks has to take up the implementation of these proposals.”
Negotiations also continued on the shape and scope of a future global agreement on climate change, that is supposed to be concluded in 2015.
There were divisions between rich developed countries that wanted the agreement to particularly focus on ‘mitigation’ (or climate targets) and developing countries that pursued discussion of a broad range of issues relating to climate change such as ‘adaptation’ to its impacts and the transfer of climate-safe technologies.
“Dealing with climate change does not mean only reducing climate pollution – it means preparing for locked-in impacts and dealing with unavoidable loss and damage like we have seen in the Philippines. It means recognizing the potential for a food crisis in Asia and taking that very very seriously,” Lidy Nacpil, director of Jubilee South Asia Pacific, based in the Philippines, said.
Harjeet Singh, International Coordinator of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Adaptation at ActionAid said: “It was concerning that rich industrialised nations continued to push a very narrow barrow here – talking about the future agreement as being only focused on emission cuts. It is obvious that people need a much more holistic approach if we are to keep people and our food systems safe.”
Governments also struggled to agree on the process for the talks going forward, with resistance from the European Union and others to adopting normal UN procedures and basing the negotiations on text proposals from countries.
“There was a lot of criticism of the conduct of the meeting as governments haven’t actually started negotiating specifics yet, but have only been sharing perspectives. There was a big push by developing countries to get into engaging in negotiations based on governments’ submissions and that needs to happen immediately if we are to have an outcome that reflects the demands of people across the world,” said Meena Raman, negotiation expert, at the Malaysian based Third World Network.
The talks will re-convene in June as they build toward the annual summit in December, to be held in Lima, Peru.