22 December 2009

Africa: Catholic Aid Agencies say Climate Deal Spells doom for Poor

Copenhagen — Africa will be among the most affected by the outcome of the just concluded Climate Change Summit talks, according to Catholic aid agencies around the world.

The catholic agencies have expressed sadness and anger at the proposed 'Copenhagen Accord' which they describe as a weak and morally reprehensible deal which will spell disaster for millions of the world's poorest people.

The agencies said that the climate summit's weak outline of a global agreement fell far short of what Britain and many poor countries were seeking saying that the 'Copenhagen Accord' merely 'recognises' the scientific case for keeping temperature rises to no more than 2 degrees Celsius and fails to include commitments to emissions reductions to achieve that goal.

The agencies squarely blame the developed countries adding that scientific evidence and economic analysis clearly sets out what is required from industrialised nations in terms of emissions reductions and support for developing countries, and they failed to produce the goods.

"Leaders may be lagging behind, but the level of commitment shown by people from all over the world in the run up to Copenhagen has shown unequivocally that the public is firmly behind a strong climate change deal," the press statement said.

They said that leaders must now set a firm deadline for coming to a comprehensive and binding agreement as soon as possible in the coming months, and we'll be watching them every step of the way," said Lesley Anne Knight, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis.

According to a press statement from CIDSE, Niamh Garvey from Trócaire/Caritas said, "People in developing countries are already struggling with the effects of climate change.

We only have a short window "It suggests an un-ambitious non-binding agreement that sees countries set their own individual targets based on what is considered economically and politically viable rather than what is required by science and justice," she said.

"While countries expressed a willingness to continue working, the proposed deal itself presents no clear time line for concluding a fair ambitious and legally binding agreement in the coming months," Garvey said.

Garvey also said that "Over the last decade, a lack of political will has hamstrung international efforts to tackle climate change whilst the impacts in developing countries have become increasingly severe."

"It is inconceivable that with more than 100 world leaders gathered together in one room to make a pact to solve a global problem, they have failed to commit themselves to adequate and binding obligations," said CIDSE Secretary General Bernd Nilles.

According to Nilles, the deal put forward in Copenhagen fails to provide the commitments that the science says are required.

"Millions of people are now fighting to keep their heads above water while political leaders stall," Nilles said.

"They can call it an historical accord, a declaration, whatever they like. The reality is that leaders have failed to deliver a concrete and effective solution; they have passed up this historical opportunity to set a clear and collective pathway to a sustainable future," Nilles added.

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