Climate change wins, say Catholic development agencies
(Doha, 8 December 2012)
Doha blocked the gateway towards a safer and more equitable world, only doing the bare minimum to keep on track towards a new global climate deal in 2015, according to the international alliance of Catholic development agencies.
From Doha, CIDSE's Climate Policy Officer Emilie Johann said that developed countries came to the talks with no political will and without a mandate to take ambitious action:
"Even typhoon Bopha hitting the Philippines during the talks didn't stir them to action. Developing countries were forced to accept an empty outcome. Governments might be able to live with this agreement, but people - the world's poorest in particular - and the planet cannot.
"Instead of new emission targets, Doha gave us a one way ticket to a world in which climate change is beyond our control. Because of the inaction of our leaders, global temperatures continue to rise rapidly, beyond the +2 degrees Celsius science indicates is the threshold of catastrophic climate change," Johann said.
While a small group of European countries announced new climate funds in Doha, developed countries collectively did not pool public money to increase climate finance. At the 2009 Copenhagen summit, they committed to provide $100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing countries cope with climate change.
According to Johann, finance might even go down, because developed countries did not indicate how they will increase their efforts to reach the $100 billion figure, leaving the poorest with no clarity about future levels of support.
"Doha slaps the poorest on both cheeks. On the one hand, world leaders let climate change spiral out of control, which makes it more difficult for the world's most vulnerable to cope with extreme weather. On the other, the poorest are left in the dark about the amount of money they can expect in support of urgent adaptation and mitigation measures," Johann said.
Finally, the importance of agriculture was not reflected in the talks, even though the sector, and small scale food producers in particular, are severely impacted by climate change. CCFD-Terre Solidaire Environmental Policy Officer Sarah Fayolle said that small-scale agriculture and agro-ecological approaches receive too little political attention and financial support.
"CIDSE organisations work on the ground with smallholder farmers and know from experience that small-scale farming can help communities deal with food insecurity and climate change, but decision-makers still have to recognise this potential.
"Unfortunately, the lack of progress on agriculture means that the most vulnerable communities will receive no further support, even though droughts, floods and erratic rain make it increasingly difficult for them to put food on the table."
The Doha Decision*:
- An extraordinarily weak outcome on climate finance which fails to put any money on the table or to ensure a pathway to the $100 billion a year by 2020 target. The decision asks for submissions from governments on long term finance pathways, calls for public funds for adaptation but does not mention a figure, and encourages developed countries to maintain funding at existing levels dependent on their economies.
- An eight year second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol with loopholes that allow carry over, use and trading of hot air.
- A call – though not an official ambition ratchet mechanism - for Kyoto Protocol countries to review their emissions reduction target in line with the 25-40% range by 2014 at the latest. While it could have been stronger, the decision reinforces clear moral obligation for countries to increase their emission reduction targets prior to 2020 and provides opportunities for them to do so.
- An agreed work program on loss and damage to help victims of climate change will start immediately and a decision “to establish institutional arrangement, such as an international mechanism, at COP19.
- Developed countries failed to agree a way to account for their carbon in a comparable way
*analysis by Climate Action Network (CAN) International of which CIDSE is a member.
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