Climate talks ‘must deliver people-centred solutions’ following US and China developments

European politicians in attendance at ongoing UN climate negotiations are being urged to focus on delivering 'people-centred solutions' to the climate crisis and build on positive steps taken by the US and China to reduce carbon emissions.

The 12-day UN talks began in Bonn, Germany, on Wednesday (4 June); focussing on a range of issues including carbon markets and ‘loss and damage’ – an approach to addressing the very worst climate impacts.

The first week of the talks was marred by poor attendance from environmental ministers, who are expected to revise current ambitions and focus on contributions to the Kyoto agreement, as well as discussing new post-2020 climate commitments, expected to be agreed in Paris in 2015.

Friends of the Earth Europe is calling on the politicians to work towards an equitable, long-term, ambitious and people-centred solution to the climate crisis.

“Civil society walked out of the climate talks in Warsaw in frustration at the toxic influence of dirty energy corporations and the dangerous positions of many national governments,” said Friends of the Earth Europe’s climate justice and energy campaigner Susann Scherbarth. “Now we’re back, stronger, calling for the just, people-centred solutions the world needs to tackle catastrophic climate change.”

The European Union’s current position at the talks is dangerously inadequate and unfair, according to the organisation, and will force those developing countries least responsible for climate change to undertake the majority of the effort and cost to tackle it. It also risks dangerously high levels of global warming.

Scherbarth added: “In the climate change game, the European Union is not even on the bench, it’s amongst the spectators. If the EU is serious about defeating catastrophic climate change, then it needs to step up and do its fair share on the pitch.

“This means more than 20% emissions reductions before 2020, binding climate and energy targets for 2030, at least 60% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, and ambitious energy efficiency and renewables targets.”

Global race

Meanwhile, Christian Aid has called on countries at the UN climate negotiations in Bonn to build on positive steps from the US and China to reduce carbon emissions. On the eve of the talks, China was reported to have said that for the first time it would agree to a hard cap on absolute emissions; while US President Obama earlier announced controls to cut carbon emissions from US coal power plants by 30%.

“These moves by China and the US are crucial steps and will hopefully unlock the trust needed to get progress on a global climate deal,” said Christian Aid’s senior climate change advisor Mohamed Adow.

“Although a deal in 2015 is vital, any agreement will only come into force by 2020. Climate change is already having an impact on people so countries need to come forward and say what they are going to do between now and then. Just twiddling their thumbs until 2020 will do nothing for the world’s most vulnerable people who need action now.

“This meeting in Bonn offers a chance to start to bridge that gap.”

Earlier today, edie reported that the European Commissioner announced details of a revised package of measures to accelerate Europe’s transition to a circular economy. Read our full report from European Green Week 2014 here.

Luke Nicholls

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