Difficult road to Climate Justice after Warsaw climate summit
CIDSE, an international alliance of 17 Catholic development organisations, continues to call for climate justice as the Conference of Parties 19 (COP19) closes in Warsaw, Poland. All countries must work together in a spirit of solidarity and urgency to put the world on the right track: a path to decarbonised societies that deliver climate justice to all. Sadly in Warsaw countries did not opt for an ambitious way towards a global agreement in 2015, more will need to be done towards COP21 in Paris.
Speaking at the end of the COP, Bernd Nilles, Secretary General of CIDSE, deplored the lack of ambitious decisions. “Warsaw was supposed to be the “finance COP” by delivering milestones towards the $100 billion per year by 2020 to support developing countries’ adaptation and mitigation efforts. Not enough progress has been made towards achieving that goal,” he said. “Some pledges were made to save the adaptation fund, and some commitments on fossil fuels were taken, such as the UK government stepping out from using public money to fund coal plants overseas. But overall there is no clarity on the money available from now to 2020 to protect the most vulnerable people who are already suffering violent climate impacts,” he concluded.
Warsaw was also a crucial moment for countries to agree on a roadmap to reach a satisfactory agreement in Paris in 2015, including early milestones to design post-2020 commitments that are adequate to science and equity indicators to ensure the deal is fair to all countries. The roadmap coming out of Warsaw is unfortunately not providing the steps needed to build solid foundations for this global agreement, as it only opted for a late date for parties to put their contributions on the table, instead of making early commitments. Finally, the structure of a mechanism to address climate loss and damages was agreed, but needs to be filled with content.
A large delegation of CIDSE member and partner organisations from Latin America, Africa and Asia attended the COP: In Warsaw Bishop Theotonius Gomes from Bangladesh spoke passionately on the burden of climate change in his country: “My people have great dignity, but also face great suffering. Climate change is already adding needlessly to that suffering,” he said. The delegation sent a strong call to the Polish government and Polish civil society on the need to step out of a fossil fuelled economy towards a low carbon society. Parallel to COP19 CIDSE organised a high-level conference on climate justice with participation of Polish and international church-, civil society and political leaders.
With results of the COP in Warsaw being meagre, CIDSE now turns its attention on the upcoming steps: COP20 in Peru and COP21 in Paris. Emilie Johann, CIDSE Policy and Advocacy Officer for Climate Justice, reminds the European Union of its historical task. “More needs to be done to ramp up mitigation ambition by 2020 and thus increase the chance of staying below 2°C. That is clear. We also need ambitious 2030 pledges for the EU, putting us on a way to at least 55% emissions reductions and strong binding targets for energy efficiency and renewables,” she said, adding that “the upcoming negotiations on the EU climate and energy package next spring must become a relevant step on the road to Lima and Paris.” More generally all countries need to do their homework now and take the most ambitious way to the global deal, if not we may lose the opportunity to see a global agreement able to deliver climate justice in Paris. As CIDSE’s African partner Sabine Attama (SECAM) said, “we will continue to give a voice to the voiceless in that process”.
Images from the CIDSE events in Warsaw can be found here