Civil society members in Lima call for increased focus on climate action

By Saleem Shaikh

LIMA, Peru: Members of civil society and observers at the UN-led global climate talks here warned on Monday that governments must increase their focus on immediate climate action.

At a press conference during the opening of the UN Climate Conference (COP20), the groups – heavily critical of recent announcements – warned the Lima conference could see split on how to address climate action in the pre-2020 period and the scope of the post-2020 deal.

“The test of the Lima climate conference is whether it raises pre-2020 climate action,” Said Asad Rehman, Head of International Climate at Friends of the Earth EWNI.

Reman told the press conference that the latest science is hard to deny and the urgency hard to ignore, which clearly means an outcome focused on post-2020 wouldn’t be acceptable here.

“We need to see a drastic scaling up of pollution targets now, as well as a real commitment to a global fund for community controlled renewable energy,” he said.

Brandon Wu, senior policy analyst at ActionAid International, spoke how devastating will it come to be in case of no action on global carbon emissions’ reduction.

He said that “If Obama is congratulated for his 2025 pledge that’s like celebrating that an alcoholic is down to five beers in a sitting rather than a full six pack. The announcement with China still puts us on track for a 4C world, which will be devastating to vulnerable people.”

“Similarly, the overall climate finance offered so far is laughable, compared to the scale of needs on the ground, not to mention the billions available for fossil fuel subsidies or military budgets. What we’ve seen so far shows that governments are not taking the planetary emergency seriously,” Brandon Wu added.

 Meena Raman, a negotiations expert at Third World Network noted that COP20 in Lima has opened with an apparent big divide over countries’ visions for action on climate change.

There are those who want the future deal to cover the rights and needs of impacted people, by supporting processes to help those hurt by climate change. On the other side we see rich industrialised countries trying to claim legitimacy for pathetic pollution limits which will still lock us in for 4C or more of warming and then ignoring the issue of adaptation, loss and damage, or finance. Ignoring the issue of adaptation or finance is to ignore climate change. She told during the press conference.

 “In Lima we need to see a roadmap for public finance targets to make sure that the funds get to communities on the ground to start the energy transformation and prepare for climate impacts. Furthermore, any suggestion that climate finance should go toward any form of fossil fuels must be rejected as dangerous and absurd.”  Wu concluded.

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