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Copenhagen 'a tragedy' for millions of people in poor countries.

Following the failure today of the crucial UN climate summit in Copenhagen to agree a fair, ambitious and effective outcome, Christian Aid’s senior climate change advocacy officer Nelson Muffuh said: ‘This is a tragedy that will harm the many millions of people in developing countries who are already suffering the effects of climate change.

‘We hoped that sanity would prevail but powerful nations didn’t come to negotiate. They came to play hardball. Lives will be lost as a result. Already more than 300,000 people a year die as a result of climate change. That number will go up.’

The failure was the inevitable result of rich countries refusing adequately and fairly to shoulder their overwhelming responsibility for global warming, he added.

The emission cuts they offered were inadequate. The US, the world’s second greatest emitter, put a mere 4% on the table when measured against the 1990 baseline used by other industrialised countries.

In addition, the money rich countries indicate they will provide to poor countries to help them counter global warming fell far short of the $150bn a year that Christian Aid says is needed.

‘We hope all countries will look hard at themselves and think about how to reinvigorate this international process,’ said Mr Muffuh.

‘In particular, rich countries must increase the level of their ambition when they return to the negotiating table. What was on offer in Copenhagen was nothing like a fair and ambitious deal, so it is little wonder that some developing countries refused to sign.’

For interviews and further information, 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. Countdown to Copenhagen is 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 250,000 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. The pledges will be handed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to to Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on 13 December in a ceremony at  11.30am in Town Hall Square, Copenhagen.

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_newswire

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

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