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“From the carnage wrought by Hurricane Sandy to the devastating flooding in Nigeria, the impacts of climate change are now evident for all to see, and alarmingly more frequent. Carbon dioxide levels have reached a record high, setting us on track for a terrifying 6 degrees of warming", said the international coordinator of the Climate Justice and Energy program of Friends of the Earth International (FoEI), Sarah-Jayne Clifton.
In a press release issued by the environmentalist federation on Friday about the beginning of the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Doha, Qatar capital city, Sarah said: “Unfortunately developed countries, led by the United States, are accelerating the demolition of the world’s international framework for fair and urgent climate action".
“And most governments continue to support and advance the very policies that are driving the climate crisis, from dirty fossil fuel extraction of oil, gas and coal to carbon trading, agrofuels, large-scale industrial agriculture and ‘green desert’ plantations”, she added.
Real World Radio interviewed Sarah on Monday in order to understand FoEI’s general guidelines in light of the new round of the UN climate change talks.
In the press release titled "UN Climate talks: Urgent progress still not in sight", the world’s largest environmentalist federation, present in approximately 80 countries, expressed its concern about the continued lack of progress by developed countries “which are supposed to take the lead to stop climate devastation and avoid catastrophic climate change”.
According to FoEI, developed countries (included in Annex I of the UNFCCC) are responsible for three quarters of historic greenhouse gas emissions, despite only hosting 15% of the world’s population. “Because of their historical responsibility for climate change they have a moral and legal obligation under the climate convention to cut their emissions first and fastest and to provide adequate public finance for climate action by developing countries”, added the press release.
At the COP17 held last year in Durban, South Africa, the countries agreed to launch a new treaty to address climate in 2015, which will not enter into force until 2020. The new round of negotiations towards that agreement, known as the “Durban Platform” will commence negotiations in Doha and it’s due to finish its work by 2015. There is a very high risk that the Durban Platform will delay action on emissions for another ten years, lock in low ambition and undermine the principles of equity and justice in the global climate framework. Among other things, developed countries are looking for a way out of the polluting emission reduction obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, to enter into a reduction "pledge" system and subsequent revisions.
The US, Australia, Canada and Japan are the main players undermining progress in the UN climate talks. “Europe has pledged an emissions target which will allow its emissions to continue to grow, and continues to push for the expansion of carbon trading, a dangerous scam which only benefits corporations and financial elites.”
“Many governments look set to attend the talks in Doha to promote a further weakening of the framework for global emissions reductions, while at home they continue to support the expansion of false solutions to the climate crisis”, denounced FoEI.
According to the environmentalist federation, global emissions need to peak around 2015 if we are to have a decent chance of bringing emissions down to safe levels in time to prevent a further worsening of the earth’s climate and avoid the unprecedented destruction, insecurity and suffering that catastrophic, irreversible climate change would cause”.
“The power of vested interests and multinational corporations and their influence over government policies and UN processes remains at the heart of the ongoing failure of the talks”. “400 global civil society organizations and social movements have denounced corporate capture as a root cause of failing environmental multilateral negotiations”. “Clear demands were presented to the UN earlier this year to help put an end to the excessive and harmful influence of corporations over processes like the UN climate talks”. “So far the UN did not issue a public response.” Friends of the Earth International’s report on the corporate capture of the UN is available at: http://www.foei.org/en/resources/publications/pdfs/2012/reclaim-the-un-from-corporate-capture/view
“Tackling their influence is essential to unlocking the deadlock”, said FoEI.
Meanwhile, climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Asad Rehman, said: “Friends of the Earth International is urging governments attending Doha to finally wake up to the reality of the climate crisis and make urgent progress on the foundations of fair and ambitious climate action: emissions cuts in line with science and equity; adequate public finance to support climate action in the developing world; progress on technology transfer; and an end to carbon trading”. “All are needed to drive forward the transformation of our economies, deliver real sustainable energy and food alternatives, and tackle emissions while improving health and wellbeing for everyone. We are nearly out of time. Without urgent progress governments will face a total loss of confidence in their ability to act in the interests of people and the environment", highlighted Rehman.
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