Pressure mounts on leaders to deliver in Durban

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

World leaders are naïve if they believe blanket exploitation of the earth’s resources can continue, says ACT Alliance, a global coalition of agencies working to alleviate poverty in almost every developing country.

On the second day of political leaders’ meetings at UN climate talks, ACT General Secretary John Nduna said the alliance fully supported developing countries’ push to ensure that concrete, clear agreements came out of Durban.

Nduna said there were encouraging signs that Durban was moving forward. “But it is now up to those still dragging their feet to make sure that happens. If Durban does not deliver, we know who to blame.”

Developing countries have given a stern caution that delegates must come up with solutions to alleviate the suffering of those enduring the worst effects of climate change.

“We need to show the world that parties are willing to forego their national interests for the interest of humanity, no matter how difficult that might be.” South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma said at the opening ceremony of the high-level phase of the conference.

Putting the Green Climate Fund into operation, as well as the way long term climate finance will be raised after 2013, are still dividing governments. A new draft text proposed today on the Fund still shows a worrying number of disagreements among countries.

Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi, who also coordinates the Africa Union’s Committee of Heads of State and Government on Climate Change, was right in highlighting the disappointment developed countries failed to honour their fast start finance pledge made at COP15, Nduna said.

This reflected the lack of trust between countries when it came to fulfilling commitments, and explained the insistence on legally binding agreements and verifiable, transparent monitoring mechanisms.

To build trust, the second commitment period for Kyoto was crucial, despite the fact that it covered only a small proportion of the world’s emissions. Only a commitment to a second period and a pledge by all countries to commit by 2015 would save Durban, Nduna said.

“At the moment there is a real danger such an agreement might not happen. The United States is not budging from its position and the EU is looking to China. I believe everybody is right to be pessimistic about that.”

“In the end the economics of reality will face us all. If we don’t take care, the earth's resources will disappear and we will have absolutely nothing.  This is a matter of human lives. Poor people are suffering in developing countries. Developed nations have a responsibility to find the money. Please, no more posturing.”