UN climate talks require business unusual
The Geneva talks will be the first formal meetings since a conference in Lima, Peru late last year. The talks are also the only scheduled negotiations before a May deadline that requires the draft text to be finalized for the last round of talks in Paris later this year.
“Many issues that could have been resolved in Lima were pushed into this year’s negotiations instead. That business-as-usual approach now puts a heavy burden on negotiators. They should draw on the momentum we saw before Lima, where people around the world mobilized for climate action and countries stepped forward with new climate commitments. That was business unusual, and that’s the same approach negotiators will need to agree on an ambitious, science-based climate deal,” said Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative.
Negotiators in Geneva must address three critical areas in order to keep global warming from reaching dangerous levels: A long-awaited global climate agreement with science and equity-based commitments that enters into force in 2020; urgent, collaborative national efforts to build up renewable energy and reduce climate pollution before the 2020 deal takes hold; and building trust between governments participating in the negotiating process.
“We are now at the end of the line if we are to get a global agreement on climate change that is strong enough to change the current path. Scientists tell us global emissions need to peak and decline well within the decade to avoid runaway climate change. None of us, including negotiators, can afford to continue with business-as-usual,” said Smith.
Research from every corner of the globe proves that climate change is occurring, human activities are causing it, and its devastating impacts are hitting ecosystems and affecting the lives and livelihoods of people around the world. After 20 years of negotiations and ever-increasing emissions, it is time to act.