The UN climate change negotiations – which kick off their next round of discussion next week in Doha, Qatar – must lay the basis for a fair, ambitious and binding agreement by 2015.
WWF’s head of delegation Tasneem Essop says while it is widely expected that this round of negotiations is unlikely to deliver significantly on any issues, now is the time that expectations must be proven wrong.
“Governments of the world still have a chance to come to Doha and make something happen,” she says. Trust among developed and developing countries will be the deciding factor for the success of the negotiations at Doha, she says.
“The block now is that there is lack of trust. Developed countries have made commitments – even low levels of commitment at that – and some haven’t delivered. At the same time, developing countries are being pressured to take more actions, but without the committed finance to implement these actions. The global effort has to be a fair, shared effort if we are to get anywhere near the level of trust required to make progress. In our view, this can make or break progress towards finalising a new global agreement by 2015,” says Essop.
And never has the imperative been stronger.
The release of several science-based climate change reports in the last week show overwhelming that the world is quickly slipping behind its CO2 emission targets and if this slide is not arrested sharply, the world faces the devastating consequences of a 4°C world.
“This year alone, we have witnessed some of the most devastating effects of climate change all around the world. As CO2 emissions reached record highs, Artic sea ice reached record lows, droughts blistered the world’s grain-producing areas, and wheat, corn and soybean prices hit historic peaks. And when food prices spike, poor people go hungry,” Essop says.
If countries aren’t ready to talk about more ambition (i.e. bigger cuts and finance), they are living in a parallel universe, one in which climate change isn’t bearing down on the world like a runaway train, says WWF’s Samantha Smith, leader of its Global Climate and Energy Initiative.
“We’re hopeful that countries will respond to the wave of extreme weather impacts that hit the planet this year. We expect the EU to deliver on a second commitment period for Kyoto; we expect rich countries to have credible plans for how they’ll keep their promises on climate finance; and we expect developing countries to do their part, bearing in mind that most are primarily low income countries still. The real test is whether folks are ready to talk about bigger cuts, in line with what every credible scientist and institution is telling us.”