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Christian Aid backs Africa bid to focus talks on Kyoto

Christian Aid today backed demands by African countries that the future of the Kyoto Protocol should take precedence at the UN’s Copenhagen climate change summit and that talks be focused on this issue and no other until it is resolved.

Nelson Muffuh, Christian Aid’s Senior Climate Change Advocacy Co-ordinator, said: ‘Africa has been driven to this by the lack of progress on key substantive issues such as strong mitigation targets, and the lack of offers of financial support from rich countries to poor to help them deal with climate change.

‘We need far more robust emission targets from wealthy countries and much more finance.

‘It is essential that the Kyoto Protocol is retained as it is the only legally binding mechanism that exists that obliges rich countries to make emission cuts.

‘Rich countries need to realize that saving Kyoto is a redline issue for developing countries. If they kill Kyoto they kill Copenhagen’.

Africa and the rest of the developing world fears that rich industrialised countries are preparing to abandon the protocol in an attempt to unfairly shift the burden of dealing with climate change on to developing countries.

In its place, rich countries want a new treaty that would place some of the onus for emission cuts on poorer nations.

Informal discussions at the Copenhagen conference have taken place along two tracks, one discussing the protocol, the first commitment period of which ends in 2012, and one discussing the long term action needed to counter climate change.

The Africa group is now calling for the second track to be suspended until a new commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol has been agreed.

Kamel Djemouai, Lead negotiator from the group, said today: ‘We suspect that in one or two days, or on the 18th, they will tell us ‘we don’t have time to deal with Kyoto Protocol issues’.

‘At the end they are going to try to give us a new mandate for a one track process and try to conclude a new treaty in the next six to 12 months.

‘Africa is the most vulnerable continent. The Kyoto Protocol is of paramount importance to us. We can never accept the killing of the Kyoto Protocol. That would mean the killing of Africa’.

Nigerian negotiator Dr Victor Fodeke added: ‘Africa is on death row. Removing one of the tracks will mean that the train of hope crashes.’

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For further information please contact Andrew Hogg on (00 45) 40975304 or (00 44) 07872 350 534 / ahogg@christian-aid.org

Or Rachel Baird on (00 45) 40973665 or (00 44) 7545 501 749 / rbaird@christian-aid.org

Notes To Editors:

1. Christian Aid is a member of Countdown to Copenhagen,  a climate justice campaign instigated by APRODEV, an association of 17 major faith-based development and humanitarian aid organisations in Europe, which work closely with the World Council of Churches. The campaign is now active in 24 countries worldwide. APRODEV members and partner organisations along with members of CIDSE, an international network of 16 Catholic development agencies, have collected more than 500,000 pledges from individuals that they will help save the planet. Taking the pledge included a commitment to reduce personal carbon footprints through recycling, reusing and reducing consumption, as well as an undertaking to write to political leaders pressing for a climate change agreement that is fair to poor countries.

2. Christian Aid, a member of APRODEV, 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 life they deserve.

3. Christian Aid wants rich countries at the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen to commit to at least 40 per cent reductions in carbon emissions by 2020.  It also wants industrialised countries to commit to providing more than 110 billion Euros a year to developing countries, along with technology transfers, to enable them to develop in a low carbon way and adapt to climate change.

4. Christian Aid is a member of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition which represents 11 million members across 100 UK organisations.  All are united in their demand for an end to dirty coal, and a fair and just international climate change deal that protects the worlds’ poorest communities.

5. Climate change is already depriving poor people in many developing countries of their livelihoods.  Christian Aid believes that it must urgently be tackled, in order to help achieve a world free of poverty.  Our new drive, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end global poverty.  Details at www.christianaid.org.uk

6. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_

7. Pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/christian_aid_media


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