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UN climate conference fails people and planet

Groups across the world declared there was ‘no justice’ in the outcome of the UN Climate Conference in Lima, known as COP20.

After two weeks of negotiations governments agreed to a last minute text that did nothing to address pre-2020 climate action, sidelined the issue of dealing with the impacts of climate change, and hardly progressed the rules for a new agreement that is supposed to be signed in Paris next year.

In a statement signed by organisations from across the world, and led by social movements in the South, groups said, “what we have seen in Lima is another in a series of yearly decisions that weaken international climate rules, failing people and the planet.”

Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of Jubilee South Asia Pacific from the Philippines said that, “the concrete demand was to set out how we would increase emission reductions from now until 2020, and set long term climate targets to make sure we limit temperature increase to below 1.5°C.”

“What has happened in Lima is that the world has said it wants to bury its head in the sand and not look at the weak and unjust 2020 climate targets again. Make no mistake, not revisiting our 2020 targets is to set us on track for 4C of warming and risk many more storms like that which hit our homes in the Philippines this week. Lima has failed the people of the world, Paris must not ignore the urgency of the crisis or its agreement will not be worth the paper it is written on.” Nacpil concluded.

Friends of the Earth EWNI’s International Climate Campaigner from the UK, Asad Rehman said, “the planet and the poorest people in the world require more than empty political statements that contains lots of the right sounding words but very little in actual concrete commitments.”

“The only thing these talks will achieve is to reduce the chances of a fair and effective agreement to tackle climate change in Paris next year.”

“With the world speeding towards catastrophic climate change, wealthy industrialised nations who have contributed most to our polluted atmosphere must take the lead in tackling this threat.” Rehman said.

Meena Raman, negotiation expert at the Malaysian based Third World Network said, “this outcome took a long drawn out fight and the end result is still so far from what people need. This bodes badly for what is possible out of Paris given the sheer lack of responsibility that the rich developed countries are prepared to take.”

Harjeet Singh, Lead on Resilience and Climate at ActionAid International said that, “This outcome provides nothing meaningful on finance, loss and damage, and pre-2020 action. Any country that has the interests of its people at heart should have rejected this proposal. We see weak and unjust climate targets from rich industrialised targets and the result of those will be unimaginable devastation from climate impacts. Adaptation to that climate change will be impossible and the people who are least responsible for causing that climate change must receive compensation for their loss and damage. That loss and damage was not given distinct political recognition in the text here in Lima suggests that the Paris deal will be quick to forget the rights and needs of the world’s poor.”

Azeb Girmai, Focal Point on Climate from LDC-Watch in Ethiopia, said that, “Least Developed Countries (LDCs) fought for recognition of the loss and damage we are suffering from climate change but the powerful trod on our proposals and ignored our rights. Loss and damage is distinct from adaptation, with distinct issues that need attention – we cannot ignore it or pretend it is like adaptation. This outcome heralds further devastating climate storms and dark clouds for Paris.”

Martin Vilela of the Bolivian Platform on Climate Change said, “the COP20 outcome threatens us with a dead planet. It locks in inaction and its ineffective actions will not stave off the collapse of the global climate system, forcing millions to suffer without justice. The negotiations ignore the people and ignore the science, operating in an insane bubble. The so-called “Lima Call for Climate Action” will do nothing to meet the UN’s stated objective on climate change.”

“Not increasing the level of action before 2020 means abandoning the goal agreed by all governments to not allow 2 ° C of global warming by the end of the century” said Maxime Combes from Attac France.

“The passivity and the irresponsible actions of governments and transnational companies needs to be challenged, NGOs and social movements have to set up their own agenda and to initiate a comprehensive and long-term battle for climate justice,” Christophe Aguiton, also of Attac France said.

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