Climate vulnerable states call for greater ambition at UN talks

Prakash Mathema, Chairman of the Least Developed Countries
We have seen a variety of possibilities placed on the table this week, but there has been a missed opportunity about what concrete steps could be taken. The work in next session needs to be more focused.

Alliance of Small Island States & LDC joint release
If we fail to act now, a vastly more expensive response will be required later, which will have profound implications for the scale and nature of obligations under the 2015 agreement. The costs of adapting to the impacts of climate change are already spiralling out of control, and thus need to be a bigger part of the ADP discussions.

For us, more delay will mean more floods, more famines, more storms, and inevitably, more deaths. To that end, it is essential we have another ADP session in September as well as a Ministerial level meeting at COP 19 in Warsaw that is geared to raising mitigation ambition. These meetings will be essential to get the necessary political commitments for lowering emissions.

VIDEO: UN climate chief Christiana Figueres

Arthur Runge-Metzger, Head of delegation, EU

People are taking this review [of mitigation pledges] much more seriously than before in order to be able to adjust. We need to build in a mechanism that allows us to ratchet up and react very quickly to the science, without having to start a new negotiation process from scratch.

Dr. Gary Theseira of Malaysia on behalf of the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC)
Instead of spearheading efforts to move the world away from climate disaster, developed countries have refused to take responsibility and jumped from one excuse to another.  Phrases such as broader participation cannot be used as a cover developed country refusal to raise ambition.

Nevertheless, it’s not too late.  Developed countries can still commit to bridging the mitigation and financing ambition gaps in the context of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.  The formula for a successful climate regime over the next two decades is simple.  Leadership by developed countries now will lead to successful pre-2020 negotiations.  Successful pre-2020 negotiations will lead to a successful post 2020 agreement.

Alden Meyer, Director of strategy and policy, Union of Concerned Scientists

Looking at this overall picture, world leaders are acting like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. They are committing to keep temperatures under 2C while simultaneously going all out to increase fossil fuel production – even though we know that over half the world’s existing oil, coal, and gas reserves have to be left in the ground if we’re going to meet the temperature goal.

The main barrier to confronting the climate crisis isn’t lack of knowledge about the problem, nor is it the lack of cost-effective solutions. It’s the lack of political will by most world leaders to confront the special interests that have worked long and hard to block the path to a sustainable low-carbon future. Until this changes, we’re not going to see the action we need.

Brandon Wu, Senior Policy Analyst of ActionAid International
Red alert alarm bells are ringing in every corner of the globe – more droughts, more storms, more devastation because of climate change. This is a planetary emergency that is impacting the world’s poorest first. To answer this call developed countries must scale up public climate finance and engage in proposals for a strong international mechanism to address loss and damage.

Asad Rehman, Head of International Climate, of Friends of the Earth EWNI
This week atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide hit 400 parts per million, scientists suggest that to have a chance of limiting warming to well below 1.5C that number needs to be brought down to below 350. To bring climate pollution levels down, the negotiators in Bonn needed to have a serious focused conversation about how to stop the expansion of dirty energy.

Meena Raman, negotiation expert at Third World Network
The US proposal for the post-2020 agreement is a do-what-you-like deregulated system where no country compares its climate goals to science, its responsibility or the rest of the world and there is no check on action, only more talk. It would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening. It appears the US and its allies want to rename this the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Conversations.

Mohamed Adow, senior adviser at Christian Aid
The glimmer of hope in these talks was an almost unanimous agreement from governments that the UN needs to take ‘equity’ considerations more seriously and decide on a way to define and allocate ‘fair shares’ of the required international effort.

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