Polluters won – people lost

The interests of profit-hungry and polluting corporations have won at the recent UN climate talks, several NGOs said on Sunday.

“Polluters won, people lost,” said Greenpeace International’s executive director Kumi Naidoo.

“Our governments this past two weeks listened to the carbon-intensive polluting corporations instead of listening to the people who want an end to our dependence on fossil fuels and real and immediate action on climate change,” said Naidoo in a statement.

Earlier on Sunday, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane expressed satisfaction at the outcomes reached at the 17th United Nations Conference of Parties (COP 17) talks on climate change.

“We have ‘worked together to save tomorrow, today!'” she said.

The climate change talks ended this weekend after 14 days of deliberation.

Nkoane-Mashabane said talks yielded a roadmap aimed at enforcing a legal framework to enforce carbon emission cuts from major greenhouse gas emitters.

French news agency AFP reported that should this framework be approved in 2015, it would be enforced by 2020.

Reacting to these resolutions, Friends of the Earth International climate justice co-ordinator Sarah-Jayne Clifton said the resolution of the talks indicated that ordinary people had been let down by their governments.

Potential catastrophe

“The noise of corporate polluters has drowned out the voices of ordinary people in the ears of our leaders,” Clifton said.

Naidoo criticised the agreement reached at the talks which stipulated that the next deal on climate change matters need only be implemented in 2020.

“Right now the global climate regime amounts to nothing more than a voluntary deal that’s put off for a decade.

“This could take us over the 2°C threshold where we pass from danger to.”

Christian Aid spokesperson Mohamed Adow also said the delay in implementation was unacceptable.

“Action against climate change in 2020 will come a decade too late for poor people on the frontline – they urgently need it now.

“Their lives are already ravaged by floods, droughts, failed rains, deadly storms, hunger and disease and we know that these disasters will get worse and more frequent as climate change bites.

In name only

Adow said that the outcome in Durban was a compromise that would prove ineffective.

“It is a disastrous, profoundly distressing outcome – the worst I have ever seen from such a process.”

He said the Kyoto protocol now existed “in name only”.

Adow said the only “notable achievement” of the Durban talks was the agreement reached that the Green Climate Fund would soon have staff and an office.

“But the Fund remains empty and so countries must keep working to identify new sources of the $100bn a year which they have already agreed must be available to poor countries by 2020, to help them cope with climate change and pursue sustainable development.”

The next Conference of Parties (COP 18) would be chaired and hosted by Qatar between November 26 and December 8 next year.

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