on 15th June 2014

Despite signs of progress, significant work remains in tackling climate change

As the UN climate talks draw to a close in Bonn, CARE International says governments have taken a number of ‘positive steps’ towards agreeing an ambitious and comprehensive climate deal in 2015. However, significant work still remains if nations are to tackle the causes of climate change and its impact on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, the aid organisation warns.

Calls from a number of countries to phase out greenhouse gas emissions, a recent agreement to activate the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and new commitments to scale up climate finance beyond the GCF are all encouraging signs, CARE says, adding that countries now need to focus their efforts on investing in renewable energy and finding new money and resources for climate change adaptation.

As the Bonn talks concluded, CARE International’s Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator, Sven Harmeling, said:

On overall tone and political ambition:
“While the level of action on climate change lags far behind what is needed, the Bonn talks have made progress on some of the key issues. There are also some early indications that governments are starting to take serious climate action – but we’ll need to see real commitment from all countries between now and 2015 if the world is to have any hope of agreeing an ambitious and comprehensive climate deal next year in Paris. Announcements from the US, China, Mexico, plus new agreements on the Green Climate Fund and calls from many countries to completely phase out harmful greenhouse gas emissions, are all positive signals. But there is still a long way to go if governments are to effectively tackle the global injustice of climate change, and protect the poorest and most vulnerable communities from massive climate disruption.”

On climate finance and the Green Climate Fund:
“Following a recent agreement to activate the Green Climate Fund, calls for developed countries to contribute financial resources to the GCF could be heard loud and clear throughout Bonn’s negotiating halls. We want to see USD15bn invested in the GCF over the next few years – and half of that sum should be spent on adaptation with a real focus on assisting the most vulnerable communities. That would send a strong signal that governments are willing to work together to help people adapt to climate impacts in poor and vulnerable countries. On top of that, developed countries have committed to scale up climate finance beyond the GCF, which is also vitally important.”

On the upcoming UN climate summit in New York:
“Today marks 100 days to the UN climate summit in New York, when governments, business and civil society leaders will gather to promote the need for global climate action. True political leadership is essential if the world is to scale up climate action at the pace required. We call on Heads of State from all major countries to attend so they can hear the voices of people and leaders who are already feeling the impacts of climate change and who are at increasing risk of catastrophic climate disruption. Leaders must bring bold pledges to the summit including finance for the Green Climate Fund and a commitment to increase overall adaptation finance. Renewable energies also need massive investment to help cut global emissions. The People’s Climate March, expected to be the biggest mass climate demonstration ever seen, will take place before the summit. This will be a chance for civil society to show we’re not willing to wait any longer. We need real leadership and action now.”

On climate change impacts and adaptation:
“The impacts that climate change is already having on people’s lives is becoming more visible every day. That is why CARE is working on the frontline, supporting vulnerable communities to protect themselves from increasing climate disruption through groundbreaking initiatives such as our Adaptation Learning Programme for Africa. In Bonn, many vulnerable countries have issued strong calls for scaled-up measures to help people adapt in the 2015 climate agreement. We’re pleased that Bonn saw substantive discussions on the new mechanism to address loss and damage from climate impacts and to promote national adaptation planning in developing countries, though much work remains. Negotiators also agreed to take concrete steps to promote climate adaptation in agriculture, which will benefit smallholder farmers. However, overall, the level of action taken to date to help prepare poor communities for climate impacts still lags far behind the scale of the challenge.”

CARE International Secretary General, Robert Glasser, said: “Climate change is the most fundamental challenge of our time. Governments must act urgently to limit global warming and to help their citizens cope with its impacts. The risks of inaction, for the world’s poorest and for us all, are far too great to ignore. This is literally a matter of life and death on an unprecedented scale. Failure to act is not an option.”

 

To arrange an interview with Sven Harmeling, contact Jo Barrett, Communications Coordinator, Poverty, Environment and Climate Change Network on +44 (0)7940 703911 jbarrett@careclimatechange.org

CARE is a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty and providing lifesaving assistance in emergencies. In more than 80 countries around the world, CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to help lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. To find out more see: www.careclimatechange.org

Bonn climate talks June 2014

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