Governments applaud but no real progress made for developing countries at Cancun

At the conclusion of the climate talks in Cancun, UK-based anti-poverty campaigners from the World Development Movement say that no real progress has been made since last year’s meetings in Copenhagen in terms of tackling emissions due to rich coutnries  feet-dragging. But although they cautiously welcomed the establishment of a new ‘Green Climate Fund’ to help poor countries cope with climate change, they raised strong concerns over the level of finance and potential role of carbon trading and markets.

Dr Julian Oram, head of policy of the World Development Movement said:
“In terms of making serious commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the foot-dragging by developed countries has resulted in a text with little difference from the Copenhagen Accord. A year later, and 300, 000 more people have died from climate change related impacts, and still no more binding commitments have been forthcoming. The best that can be said is that it keeps the Kyoto process limping along until next year’s meetings in South Africa."

On the Green Fund
Dr Julian Oram, head of policy from the World Development Movement said:
“The establishment of a new Green Fund represents probably the only real breakthrough here in Cancun, but even on this big issues remain. The $100 billion put on the table is nowhere near enough to help developing countries match the scale of the problem, as shown by numerous international estimates . Furthermore, two thirds of the money could be raised through carbon markets and private sector finance, letting rich countries off the hook in terms of stumping up desperately needed public funds for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The World Bank will be the trustee of the Fund which is highly inappropriate given its track-record of investing in high carbon projects.

“The final terms of reference of the fund will therefore be crucial in determining poor countries ability to directly access adequate funding for coping with climate change, and for eradicating poverty through low-carbon development pathways.”

On emissions reductions

Dr Julian Oram, head of policy at the World Development Movement said:
"Although there hasn’t been an explicit rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, it looks like rich countries are trying to usher it quietly of the back door. Rich countries have to get serious about cutting their use of fossil fuels in line with what both the science and justice demand and make those commitments legally binding now.”

On climate finance for developing countries fast start

"Developing countries need the finance that has already been promised to help them adapt to climate change. But the pledges are too small, and of the sums that have been promised, little has been delivered. The UK and other a few other rich countries governments are not providing new money on top of the aid budget, and instead are providing climate finance as loans that further indebt already poor countries.”

On the process of negotiations

Julian Oram continued:
"In their rush to conclude the talks, it appears that the views of some countries that raised strong concerns and objections, such as Bolivia, were not acknowledged in the final texts. There was also the extraordinary situation of heads of government delegations from Bolivia and other countries being harassed by UN security officials on their way in to the final plenary. It's also worrying that civil society groups here as official observers to hold governments to account are increasingly finding it harder to access the meetings spaces, or even to raise objections around un-transparent and undemocratic processes."