UN Climate Talks: the verdict

The UN Climate Talks in Poznan went on late into the night last night. I left at about midnight, because frankly I could not understand a word of the proceedings. Every second word was an unfamiliar acronym, an obscure technical term, or a document reference number, so I left the Oxfam policy team to decipher what was happening and met up with them again in the morning.

Their mood is still one of disappointment. The conference in Poznan was meant to be a key milestone between the start of negotiations in Bali last year and their conclusion at Copenhagen next year. But it has exposed a shameful lack of progress. By now, developed nations were meant to have outlined their plans for emissions reductions, finance and technology; they have failed to do so. They have tried to delay, shift the blame, and in the case of Canada, go back on their climate change obligations.

In contrast, many of the developing countries came to Poznan with clear proposals, and, in the case of countries such as South Africa, Mexico and China, national action plans to reduce climate emissions.

An ambitious deal in Copenhagen is still possible, and is needed more than ever, but it will need far more rapid progress than over the past year. Specifically, it will need developed countries to come to the negotiations early in 2009 with far more political will and flexibility in negotiations.

The only area of progress in Poznan was on adaptation. In response to the recognition that climate change is already impacting on the lives of millions of people, the conference agreed to start up a fund to help poor countries adapt to the changes in climate that have been inflicted upon them. However, after exhaustive negotiations, the developed countries rejected the strong push for additional funds. This was condemned vehemently by developing counties, citing the urgent needs of vulnerable people suffering from a crisis they did not cause.

Come back for more analysis from the UN Climate Talks soon... 

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