Christian Aid says flawed summit outcome will cost lives

by Search Gate staff. Published Fri 18 Dec 2009 22:55
Is the Copenhagen Earth deal enough?

The poor in the developing world will pay with their lives for the strong arm tactics and intransigence of rich countries which today led to a seriously flawed outcome from the crucial UN climate change summit in Copenhagen, warns Christian Aid.

“The statements that emerged today from President Obama after he attended the summit amounted to a shadow of what could and should have been achieved," said senior climate change advocacy officer Nelson Muffuh.

“Already 300,000 people die each year because of the impact of climate change, most of them in the developing world. The lack of ambition shown by rich countries in Copenhagen means that number will grow.

“Rich countries resorted to strong arm tactics and intransigence to shirk their responsibilities. A statement of inadequate political intent is not the fair, ambitious and legally binding deal that is required. It represents a set back in the fight for climate justice, but the battle goes on.

“Christian Aid had hoped President Obama would come bearing gifts for the world, but all we got were empty words.”

Mr Muffuh said the US, EU and other developed countries faced a moral imperative to restart the talks as soon as possible with a view to agreeing:

* At least 40 per cent cuts in carbon emissions by rich countries by 2020 from 1990 levels

* At least $150billion in public finance from rich countries every year to help poor countries counter global warming. The money must be additional to aid.

"Rich countries at Copenhagen put far too little on the table," said Muffuh. "An opportunity to provide poor countries with real hope was largely squandered.

"The historic responsibility for the vast majority of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming lies with industrialised countries - but it is poorer countries that suffer worst from the impact of the droughts, floods, typhoons and the higher incidence of disease that are a result of climate change."

He added that there has been an alarming lack of transparency about the way the summit has been run. Poorer countries have complained throughout that their concerns have not been listened to or taken into account.

The summit, he added, has been characterised by mistrust between rich and poor countries, and between rich countries and major emerging economies.

It was important that in the coming months developed countries undertook a series of trust building measures, including delivering rapidly on short term finance for the developing world and taking domestic political decisions to step up mitigation actions. Only in that way would negotiations move forward.

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