Governments must seize the opportunity to tackle climate change
The meeting in Warsaw is important because it paves the way to a critical meeting in Lima next year and then in Paris in 2015, where a new global climate deal is to be agreed.
“The Polish government has unfortunately shown us how not to handle these important negotiations by having embarrassingly low ambitions for this meeting and by trying to package their pro-coal stance as ‘clean coal’ – something that simply doesn’t exist,” says Tasneem Essop, WWF’s head of delegation for the upcoming climate talks in Warsaw.
“We are clear that we have little time left to act, and governments, including Poland, aren't doing enough to address the problem. The world is alarmingly far from an emissions reductions pathway that would limit dangerous climate change,” she says.
Climate and energy policy is currently driven almost entirely by the vested interests of fossil fuel companies and not by what is good for the planet and good for humanity, she says.
“We need to change this approach in Warsaw. We are calling on governments to make significant progress and agree to concrete actions to bring down emissions before 2020. Scaling up investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency provides such an opportunity, especially since the technologies are becoming increasingly competitive and affordable.” .
Samantha Smith, WWF leader of the Global Climate & Energy Initiative said: “When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change delivered their recent report , they couldn’t have been clearer - climate change is still happening, the main source of climate pollution is burning fossil fuels, and the window of opportunity for tackling the problem is rapidly closing.”
In short, says Smith, we need to close the ambition gap now and Warsaw is the place for governments to start doing this. “We know that most of the pollution that causes climate change comes from burning fossil fuels. We must quit fossil fuels and have a just transition to clean renewable energy. It won’t happen fast enough without governments, who need to send clear policy signals to investors.”
WWF is calling on investors and financiers around the world to end their support for coal, oil and gas and to increase investments in sustainable, renewable energy, including energy access for the poor .
Notes to editors:
1. WWF’s expectation paper for the UNFCCC COP 19 is available here: http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/footprint/climate_carbon_energy/cop19/
2. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report (WG1): Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis http://www.climatechange2013.org/
3. WWF's new global campaign, Seize Your Power, calls on financial institutions to significantly increase their funding of renewable energy and cut funding to fossil fuels because we recognise that the level of CO2 emissions in the world requires drastic action to limit global warming http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/aboutcc/seize_your_power/
For more information, contact:
Mandy Jean Woods, WWF Global Climate & Energy Initiative, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian Morrison, WWF-US, email@example.com
George Smeeton, WWF-UK, GSmeeton@wwf.org.uk
Tasneem Essop (WWF Head of Delegation) firstname.lastname@example.org,za / @TasneemEssop
Follow WWF at COP19 on @climateWWF
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
The Global Climate & Energy Initiative (GCEI) is WWF’s global programme addressing climate change, promoting renewable and sustainable energy, scaling up green finance, engaging the private sector and working nationally and internationally on implementing low carbon, climate resilient development.
See www.panda.org/news for latest news and media resources