Doha – The lack of political energy and dynamism on key issues including finance at the on-going UN Climate Change conference could result in a “zombie outcome.”

Liz Gallagher, senior policy advisor from E3G, said the shape of a deal was starting to emerge with consensus being sought around the crunch issues on the Kyoto Protocol, which commits developed countries to deeply cut emissions, expected to start on January 1, 2013 but that the long term cooperative track (LCA) was a mess.

The LCA track of negotiations came out of the Bali Action Plan and deals with many of the issues not covered under the Kyoto Protocol including mitigation pledges, adaptation and finance.
“The disorder in the LCA track jeopardizes the entire Doha deal as well as progress towards an inclusive treaty in 2015,” Gallagher said Thursday.
“We run the risk of having a zombie outcome here in Doha. This is an urgent plea to ministers to roll up their sleeves and start driving the UN talks forward,” she said.

Steve Herz, from the Sierra Club said the main blockage in the LCA was climate finance, which was crucial to achieving a deal acceptable to the countries most vulnerable to climate change.

The US, he said, is trying to prevent discussion on how the countries would get to the US $100 billion a year target under the Green Climate Fund which was still in its infancy stage.

“The US risks snatching defeat from the jaws of victory if it keeps blocking action on finance in these talks because it risks bringing down the Durban Platform for a new deal which Washington fought so hard for last year,” Herz added.

The Qatari presidency at the UN Climate talks also came in for harsh criticism for its weak leadership in failing to get firm decisions from the negotiators.

Wael Hmaidan, director of Climate Action Network-International said the Qatari Presidency needs to show leadership and help ministers finalise a deal in Doha that sees countries reduce their carbon emissions more quickly and provides adequate finance to help poorer countries deal with climate change in the next few years.

The climate talks – the first in the Middle East – are at a crucial juncture with key elements stalling despite the arrival of ministers this week.

“Qatari political leadership has so far failed to materialise but there are two days left of the negotiations, so Qatar needs to, today, pledge to reduce carbon emissions put money for climate finance on the table in order to lift the political energy in the talks,” Hmaidan said.

As the UN climate talks entered their final days, six of the largest and most respected environmental and development organizations in the world issued an emergency call to governments, rich and poor, about the conclusions of the Doha climate talks.

In what they dubbed, an emergency call to ministers and negotiators, ActionAid, Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Oxfam and WWF said civil society will not be complicit in an outcome in Doha that will risk the lives of millions.

“The world is facing a serious planetary emergency due to the destabilization of the Earth’s climate caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gasses emitted over the last century-and-a-half.

“Already climate impacts are affecting millions of people across the world in the form of higher temperatures, more erratic severe and extreme weather, rising sea levels and melting glaciers. And many millions more will be affected in the next decade as we hurtle towards irreversible climate change if world leaders do not take ambitious action here in Doha,” the groups said.

Despite the urgency of the crisis facing people and the planet, the statement said rich industrialized countries have spent the past two weeks in Doha removing even the bare minimum of what would be required to have an agreement that meets the acid test of climate action on emissions cuts, public climate financing and action on loss and damage.

The groups asked whether there is any hope of increasing developed country ambition to deliver at least 40% emissions reductions below 1990 levels by 2020, will Doha deliver the public climate finance needed for those affected by climate change and to help the transformation required in developing countries and whether Doha will ensure that the future 2015 global climate agreement is ambitious and equitable.

Asad Rehman, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth International said millions of people already facing floods and famines cannot accept failure.

“The people of Africa can’t accept failure and neither can the people of Europe. We call on all governments to reject an ‘agreement’ for agreements sake, if it does nothing to stop the planetary emergency, “he said at a press conference.

Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director, Greenpeace International, said people the world over are dying because of climate change and many others were losing their homes, their livelihoods and their source of food.

“It is saddening to see rich country negotiators actively blocking progress in order to maintain the profits of their coal, oil and forestry industries,” Naidoo said adding that a newly elected Barack Obama has not changed the approach of US negotiators.

“Europe too is now intransigent, and is losing its progressive image on climate. Politicians have a simple task in Doha, and today civil society spelled out exactly what is required of them. If they fail, it would be an historic act of irresponsibility, for which we would ensure they face accountability. It is not too late. We say to politicians here in Doha, that we are watching, and the world will not forget”, he said.

Mohamed Adow, senior climate change adviser at Christian Aid, said the people who have imprinted the lightest carbon footprint on this world are the ones suffering the first and the worst.

“Until leaders respond to the clear alarm bells that are ringing with greater volume and urgency than ever, we will not have a planet safe for us or for future generations. We have spent years working to ensure we have effective climate laws shaped by what science requires, not just what politicians are willing to offer. Rich countries need to do the heavy lifting making the needed cuts in carbon emissions and provide finance to those affected by climate change.”

Linda Hutchinson-Jafar is Editor of Earth Conscious Magazine


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