Durban talks - an opportunity to move beyond political posturing
The climate talks are at a crossroads, and governments have a lot of work to do in Durban if they want the world to know they are serious about addressing dangerous climate change, WWF said today.
Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative:“ Climate change is a global threat that makes borders and politics irrelevant – and it needs a united response from the world’s governments. Right now, the story of worsening natural disasters caused by climate change will fill the pages of history books with a narrative of failed ambitions, shortsightedness, and a lack of courage from world leaders to deal with this threat.
Governments need to rewrite that story, and they need to start doing it in Durban.
Already, global greenhouse gas emissions increased to record levels in 2010. The world currently is on track for global temperature increases exceeding the dangerous threshold of 2º C degrees, with catastrophic consequences. In line with the soundest science, WWF is advocating a peak and decline of emissions by 2015, which is critical to have a chance of staying below 2º C degrees of global warming.
That means in Durban leaders have a choice. They can build on the progress achieved at last year’s UN climate change negotiations in Cancun and act to prevent runaway climate change. Or they can allow short-term national interests to set us on a dangerous path.
The costs of climate change are high; socially, environmentally and economically. They will increase with every single delay to act. But solving the climate change crisis isn’t just about reducing emissions. We can shift the world to a new, more secure development path. This path includes clean, renewable energy and green jobs, less poverty, and a more sustainable use of our natural resources. It’s within our grasp - a more secure future in which people live in harmony with nature and have ample food, clean water, and reliable sources of energy. ”
Tasneem Essop, WWF’s head of climate advocacy:“ Here in Africa, the impacts of climate change for people are all too real. We need leaders to realise that they will be making decisions on African soil. They need to understand that we are at a critical turning point – the world is looking to them to provide certainty about the future of the Kyoto Protocol and a future global climate regime. ”
What WWF wants out of Durban:
- Lock in the progress that has already been made in the negotiations up to now. The Cancun agreements must be implemented.
- Commit to a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol. The first commitment period ends in 2012.
- Lay the foundation for negotiating a legally binding global agreement that includes all countries by 2015.
- Identify the sources for long-term finance needed to cut emissions and to pay for urgently-needed adaptation to climate impacts.
- Use the opportunity of COP 17 to increase ambition to cut greenhouse gas emissions.