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Durban climate talks: Still cause for hope but urgent action needed says Christian Aid

December 01 2011 - Governments have made little or no progress in official meetings at the Durban climate talks but their tactics in private meetings suggest there is still cause for hope, Christian Aid says today.

'In the open meetings there's no progress - no-one is saying anything new,' said Christian Aid's climate talks expert Mohamed Adow. 'But in bilateral meetings we understand they are trying to find the middle ground between them, looking at the options and at possible trade-offs.

'This is encouraging - and it is too early to say these talks are not working. We have seen some good dialogue, albeit in closed rooms, and we want Governments to build on in the days that remain.

'We want to leave Durban with a deal which is a strong response to the climate chaos which is hurtling towards us - and which is already having devastating effects on poor people.

'Governments have just over a week in which to agree how to respond to the latest climate science, which shows that without deep emissions cuts now, dangerous global warming will occur. It will cause human suffering on a terrifying scale.’

Christian Aid wants an agreement to extend the Kyoto Protocol, to rapid and massive cuts in developed countries' emissions and real progress towards getting the Green Climate Fund up and running by 2013.

'Rather than taking time to argue about the legal form of a potential new international climate deal which might come into force in six or eight  years' time, Governments should focus on what is most urgent,’ said Mr Adow.

'Right now we need ambition - on emissions cuts to prevent dangerous warming and on finance to help poor countries cope with the massive human and financial costs of climate change, which they are already suffering,' he said.

'Delaying everything until 2020 will have catastrophic consequences, many of which will fall on the backs of poor people in Africa.

'The most important task now is to keep Kyoto alive by extending it before its first commitment expires next year and increase countries emissions cuts to sufficient levels. This must be done in Durban,' he said.

'Kyoto matters because it is the world's only law on countries' emissions of greenhouse gases. It's the only system we have which says emissions cuts must be based on climate science and equity- not what Governments find politically convenient.

'At the same time, poor countries need the Green Climate Fund to become more than an empty shell. The Durban talks must get the Fund working next year and identify sources of long-term, predictable finance which can start flowing from 2013. The impacts of climate change are not waiting for Governments to get their act together.' 

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For more information and to interview Mohamed Adow, please contact Rachel Baird on 07545 501 749 or 00 27 07914 56324 or rbaird@christian-aid.org


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