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Cancun Progress Report: So far, a triumph of style over substance, while new text contains major holes, warns Christian Aid

The Cancun climate talks have so far been a triumph of style over substance, Christian Aid warned today. 

While the Mexican hosts have successfully managed the talks to minimise open dissent and give all countries the chance to participate, negotiators have to date achieved little or nothing for millions of people living in poverty, who are already struggling with climate change. 

‘While the adaptation and finance sections of today’s text contain some welcome points, rich countries are holding them hostage to progress being made on their demands of poor countries,’ said Mohamed Adow, Senior Adviser, Global Advocacy at Christian Aid. 

The new text is also ambiguous about the future survival of the Kyoto Protocol. In addition, it fails to resolve the question of the legal form of the outcome of the negotiations, which is one of the trickiest issues facing negotiators. Finally, the text needs a large injection of ambition to keep the global temperature rise within safe levels. 

Mr Adow added: ‘Now it is time for ministers to take over and piece together a balanced and comprehensive package. All sides need to make compromises in order to complete the Cancun jigsaw and achieve an effective and equitable outcome.’ 

As for the first week of the talks generally, Mr Adow said they had been a ‘triumph of style over substance’.

‘Countries have made little real progress, if any, towards action which will actually protect people everywhere from the hunger, destruction and fear that come with climate change,’ he said. ‘But why are we here in Cancun, if not to make such progress?’ 

The lack of progress so far makes it all the more vital for ministers arriving in Cancun to give the talks some powerful new momentum. 

‘Cancun must lay the foundations for a solution to the climate problem, not wreck the existing climate architecture or confuse the urgency of action with readiness for a bad deal,’ added Mr Adow. 

‘As a priority, parties must support a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, establish an ambitious climate fund within the UNFCCC and agree a clear way forward into the South African summit next year.’

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To arrange to speak to Mohamed Adow, please contact Rachel Baird on +44 (0) 7545 501 749 or rbaird@christian-aid.org. 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950  

Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk