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EU climate plans 'dangerously inadequate' says new report

European plans to keep world temperatures within safe limits are dangerously inadequate and must be much more ambitious before they can form the template for global action, a new report warns today.

The alert comes as governments converge on Poznan, Poland, to negotiate the future of international efforts to tackle climate change.

The report, from development agency Christian Aid, warns that although the European Union’s plans on climate change are currently the most ambitious on offer, if adopted across the industrialised world then there would be a real risk of disastrous global warming.

‘Projections by Christian Aid partner EcoEquity reveal that if all rich countries took action in line with existing EU plans, then global temperature rises could be as high as 3oC by 2100,’ said Alison Doig, Christian Aid’s senior adviser on climate change.

EcoEquity’s projections are taken from its model of how the world’s climate will respond to different levels of global emissions between now and 2050.

‘The significance of a potential 3oC rise cannot be overstated – scientists predict that a global rise of more than 2oC will send the climate system into chaos,’ added Doig. ‘The poor, in particular, living in countries already bearing the brunt of climate change through floods, drought and desertification, will face immense hardship.

‘Christian Aid is not saying the  package of measures should be scrapped - it wants them strengthened.The EU, which says it is committed to keeping the global rise below 2oC, should take on domestic emissions cuts of at least 40 per cent by 2020.

‘It should also commit to financing a similar level of reductions in developing countries. Only with that level of action can it claim to be truly leading the world towards a low-carbon future.’

Christian Aid warns that time is running out for the governments of the world to come up with an effective, realistic and just agreement on collectively tackling climate change.

Poznanis a vital opportunity for the international community to agree a shared vision for the negotiations that will lead up to the climate summit in Copenhagen late next year at which targets for the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol must be agreed.

The present phase, known as the first commitment period, runs out in 2012, and it will take at least two years for governments to ratify whatever is agreed in Copenhagen.

Christian Aid says the shared vision that should emerge in Poznan must encompass a high level of ambition for deep emissions cuts, and powerful financing and technology transfer mechanisms from rich countries, to enable developing countries to cut their own emissions without compromising their people’s right to development.

Unless that principle of equity lies at the very heart of that shared vision, then developing countries will rightly resist singing any agreement in Copenhagen.

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For more press information, please contact Andrew Hogg on 0207 523 2446,

07872 350534  or ahogg@christian-aid.org

 

Notes to Editors:

 

  1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in more than 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.
  2. Christian Aid’s new report on climate change, Setting the Bar High at Poznan, was written by Alison Doig, its senior adviser on climate change.
  3. The conference opening in Poznan on Monday, 1st December runs until Saturday, 13 December. It is the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  4. Christian Aid’s side event at the conference,‘The Countdown to Copenhagen and the need for climate justice’, is from10.30 – 12.30pm on Friday, 5 December in the Rubinstein Room, EU Pavilion 9. Speakers from the developing world  will address the need for an equitable solution to climate change and Sivan Kartha, of the Stockholm Environment Institute , will explain what an effort-sharing framework could look like. We hope to include a response from an official UN delegation.
  5. EcoEquity’s calculations are based on the EU package of climate change measures, to be debated by the European Parliament over the next two weeks.  
  6.  EcoEquity’s model calculates how atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide would change if all industrialised countries (Annex 1 countries under the UNFCCC) took on similar annual emissions reductions as those the EU proposes to adopt in its climate change package, targeting a 30 per cent reduction by 2020 and continuing on the same path to 2050, The model then calculates a range of values for how global average temperatures would be affected by those levels of atmospheric CO2, by 2100. For cuts of 30 per cent, the resulting carbon in the atmosphere would result in a global temperature rise of between 2oC and 3oC, and an even larger rise if the EU aims at a reduction of only 20 per cent.
  7. With change of 3oC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted that global food production will decline, with the greatest reductions in the tropics. In parts of Africa, crop yields could be reduced by 50 per cent, greatly increasing the risk of hunger. Freshwater will be scarce for to three billion people worldwide, in both rural areas and some of the world’s megacities, such as Lima and Calcutta. Health will be affected through increased malnutrition, diarrhea and malaria. Millions of people will be at risk of coastal flooding, with disastrous consequences for many small island states.  Natural disasters such as hurricanes and drought will become far more common place and unpredictable across much of the developing world.
  8. In Europe such temperatures will increase inland flash flooding and coastal flooding, as well as increase the health risks due to heat waves.