NGOs Disappointed With Final Round of Climate Negotiations

By Thalif DeenUNITED NATIONS, Oct 23 2015 (IPS)Civil society groups have expressed disappointment over the outcome of the final round of U.N. climate change negotiations in Bonn — 38 days ahead of the upcoming summit in Paris. The weeklong negotiations, which concluded Oct. 23, triggered mostly negative comments from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) monitoring the talks.Denise M. Fontanilla, Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, told IPS technically, this is the last round of climate negotiations before Paris.“But anything can happen – especially given the hype,” she added.The new global climate deal is expected to be agreed upon at the Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, from Nov 30-Dec 12 (with the possibility of an extension, depending on the state of the negotiations).ActionAid’s Climate Policy Manager, Harjeet Singh, said the events in Bonn “have shown there is still a mountain to climb before a deal emerges on the horizon at the Paris summit in December.”“It seems that the European Union (EU) forgot its claim of standing together with the world’s poor and vulnerable”, he said.For months, the EU has remained undecided on how the Paris deal will help poor communities already being battered by climate change.“The EU hangs at the threshold dithering on whether and how it should go out and help the people in the storm,” he added.Chee Yoke Ling, Director of Third World Network, said without a fair deal in Paris there will be a temperature increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius and a perpetuation of injustice against developing countries and their peoples.“The week started with a very unbalanced text prepared by the co-chairs that favored the United States and its allies. United efforts by developing countries continue to meet with resistance as major developed countries persist in chipping away at their commitments and the equity basis of the Convention,” she said.Lidy Nacpil, Coordinator of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, referred to the “Fair Shares” civil society review of national climate pledges, which shows that the ambition of wealthy developed countries falls well short of their fair share, while developing countries have made pledges that exceed or broadly meet their fair shares.“All countries need to do their fair share, but the study clearly shows that the onus is on developed countries to drastically cut their emissions and provide finance to developing countries,” Nacpil said.In a report released Oct. 19, the London-based Oxfam said the 150 countries that have now publicly committed to carbon reduction pledges show the Paris climate summit could, at last, be built on international cooperation rather than competition.“However, an urgent step-change is still required from all countries because the combined total of pledges still represents an unacceptable gamble that puts at risk the world’s climate security.”Judging by the pledges, Oxfam believes that many developing countries are stepping up to build momentum and show cooperative leadership, while overall rich countries need to show more ambition still.The report, titled ‘Fair Shares: A Civil Society Equity Review of INDCs’, finds that countries such as Kenya, the Marshall Islands, China and Indonesia have already pledged or exceeded their fair share of emission cuts, by Oxfam’s reckoning.India’s pledge is broadly in line with its fair share while Brazil’s is slightly more than two thirds.Tim Gore, Oxfam’s Head of Climate Policy, said: “Some of these countries have made promises that could genuinely transform how their future economies will operate. This could transform the U.N. negotiations as a result.”Oxfam finds that rich countries however need to increase significantly their mitigation ambitions.In Paris, he said, governments must agree on a robust framework that ensures that these commitments will be strengthened before they come into effect in 2020 – and then every five years thereafter.“At the moment, rich countries are still locked into incremental target cuts that – while welcome – simply don’t yet go deep enough,” Gore said.Japan for instance is contributing about a tenth of its “fair share” of carbon emission cuts, for example, while Europe and the U.S. are contributing about a fifth. Russia has so far pledged nothing, he noted.ActionAid’s Singh said: “On finance, rich countries know they’ve failed to meet their climate finance obligations. They refuse to admit it or make a good-faith attempt to fix it, instead of proffering loans and double-counting development aid as climate finance.”In short, he pointed out, developed nations talk big on a long term solution but are still dreaming of a destination without knowing how they will make the journey.“Rich countries also continued with their ill-rehearsed Houdini act, coming up with ‘false solutions’. The current proposal of setting a long-term goal to cut carbon through ‘net-zero’ would mean developed nations can continue to live life as normal while the poor are kicked off their land in an attempt to absorb emissions,” he added.A climate deal which isn’t designed to help poor and vulnerable communities will serve only to further entrench injustice and inequality, he declared.The writer can be contacted at thalifdeen@aol.com