Pascale Palmer, Advocacy Media Officer, sends the latest from Cancun.
I’ve already talked about the fact that Cancun is a stepping stone to next year’s Conference of Parties meeting in Durban, South Africa. But just because we’re looking forward doesn’t mean in any way that these negotiations should leave ambition behind. To get to a fair and binding agreement in 2011 we need to make sure this COP creates sufficient momentum and achieves all that is possible so we can be on track for Durban.
Across many developing nations where CAFOD works with partners to push for change and improvements in livelihoods, sanitation, health, participation in democratic processes, human rights, transnational company impacts and education, we are seeing that when there are changes in climate, it makes the lives of the poorest harder still. The floods in Pakistan are an example of an extreme weather event of the type scientists predict may become more frequent as climate change worsens. The devastation caused by the onslaught of monsoon rains killed 1,500 people and displaced millions; it washed away roads, hospitals, schools, homes and livelihoods.
In Bolivia last month we had news from our partners that small farmers lost their crops to an unseasonal heavy frost. In Kenya livestock farmers are guarding their land with guns as dryer weather means people are willing to fight for richer pasture. In the Andes different crops and seeds are being tested to see what plants can cope with the changes in climate. And all this is happening to poor communities that were facing hardship and poverty before changes in climate affected their lives.
Being able to find different ways of living and earning because your environment is changing costs money. Developed nations are responsible for most of the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change right now. So there is an obvious and cruel disconnect between those who are responsible for climate change and those suffering the impacts first and worst.
What nations can work hard to achieve here in Cancun is progress on long-term climate finance that will enable developing nations to adapt to changes in climate and also put their economies on more environmentally sustainable pathways.
CAFOD believes that a new Climate Fund can be achieved at Cancun – there are already options on how to create it, and credible ways to raise the $100bn per year pledged at Copenhagen from new sources such as Financial Transaction Taxes. The next step must be to move this rapidly into its next consultation phase, make the final decisions and get the Climate Fund up and running. This is vital, not only to protect the poorest but also to go some way towards climate justice for those who have done least to cause climate change.
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