Nyungwe National Forest, Rwanda. Rwanda is calling for a fair climate change regime and a low carbon approach.
Yesterday (Wed) at the COP16 climate negotiations in Cancun 16 countries took part in a plenary session where they stated their positions and views on some of the key areas of discussion and progress so far. The UK’s energy and climate secretary Chris Huhne addressed the meeting while his recall to Westminster for the three-line whip vote on tuition fees was still hanging in the balance.
Huhne spoke about the fact that he wants high ambition at these talks, that he wants a legally binding global deal to keep a global temperature rise at 2C or less, and he wants targets on emissions cuts to be guided by science, with the admission that the science is becoming more, not less, worrying. He said that the pledges on emissions cuts were nowhere near high enough, let alone the actual actions taking place right now to reduce CO2. But he also said that the there was a willingness at Cancun to make progress, that a “car crash” summit is in no one’s interest.
Huhne pushed the need for compromise by all nations and that there is the potential to restore the momentum towards a global process. On the Kyoto Protocol, he said that it alone was not enough to save us from a 2C temperature rise. He restated the UK’s allegiance with the EU on the desire for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol as part of wider outcomes that engage all major economies. Huhne said that the UK has fulfilled its fast start finance pledge and are fully committed to a long-term goal of $100bn per year from developed nations by 2020. He signed off by saying: “A global deal on climate change is not an impossible dream – let’s do it!”
Other countries present in the room where CAFOD works with partners on the ground included Honduras, Cuba, Mozambique and Rwanda. Here’s an idea of what these countries’ representatives said in the three minutes they were allotted in the plenary meeting.
Rwanda called for a fair climate change regime with an urgent need for technology transfer to developing countries in order to shift development along a low carbon pathway. This is especially important with relation to renewable energy. Rwanda said the negotiations at present lack the operational framework to fulfill the financial pledges made at Copenhagen. They also called for a financial framework that is transparent and accessible.
Mozambique also demanded a legally binding international climate change deal, highlighting the fact that Mozambique is one of the most vulnerable countries to changes in climate, with issues already emerging in the arenas of food security, energy, wildfires and land erosion. They called for sustainable economic development with gender equality at its core. Mozambique said that the climate talks were a matter of survival for their people and there was the urgent need to adopt two legally binding agreements [from the LCA and Kyoto Protocol tracks].
Cuba had a lot to say in its time slot. It covered US climate deniers, the WikiLeaks allegations and criticised the US for the Copenhagen Accord which “doesn’t resolve the challenges show to us by the science”. Cuba stated strongly that over-consuming nations which waste resources need to start promoting peace and responsibility. They said of developing nations: ‘We are not to blame – we are the victims of the selfish attitudes of those enjoying over-exploitation of the world’s resources.” They called on industrialised countries to take on more ambitious, binding targets to reduce emissions in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and called for technology transfer to developing nations, and financial resources to allow poor nations to deal with climate change. Cuba’s representative ended by saying: “People cannot wait for the powerful.”
Honduras took the floor to say that the UN negotiations must arrive at a conclusion that delivers a sustainable world. As one of the world’s three most vulnerable countries to changes in climate, Honduras has put in place a domestic strategy to comply with UNFCCC commitments. Within the negotiations’ work on deforestation and forest degradation, Honduras highlighted the urgent need to address the issue of human rights of indigenous people. In a final statement to the meeting, Honduras said: “We must meet the ethical need to respond to our environment.”