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Europe holds key to global climate talks

June 17 2011 - The European Union now holds the key to the fate of the global climate talks, Christian Aid says today.

‘The EU might prefer a single climate treaty which covers the entire world but pursuing that is letting the best be the enemy of the good. It will destroy the only existing climate agreement – the Kyoto Protocol – and cost countless lives in poor countries,’ said Mohamed Adow, who has attended the latest round of talks in Bonn for Christian Aid.

‘It’s time for the EU to stop hiding behind the US, which we know is hamstrung by its own dysfunctional climate politics. Instead, Europe should use its power to secure a second commitment period of Kyoto, even if only as a stop-gap before the creation of an entirely new global deal.’

Mr Adow, Christian Aid’s Senior Adviser on Global Advocacy, added: ‘We can’t afford to lose the international legal systems that Kyoto has given us, after years of hard work on the Protocol.

‘Ramping up global ambition will depend on those systems, and trying to reconstruct them in the absence of the Kyoto Protocol will cost us several years. Moving quickly to a better climate deal requires that we build on Kyoto, not replace it.

‘The current impasse reflects the short-termism of the last rounds of talks and the shift towards the voluntary pledge system favoured by the US – which is away from science, equity and the rules-based system that the Kyoto Protocol embodies.’

At the end of two weeks of painfully slow, convoluted negotiations, Mr Adow also called on all sides to recognise the urgency of tackling the climate crisis and return to the next round of talks better prepared to make progress.

‘It’s arguable that some developing countries are making ambitious but unrealistic demands that are difficult to reconcile with today’s realities - but the fact of the matter is that their lives depend on such demands,’ said Mr Adow.

‘This shouldn’t be seen as obstructionism, but as a reality check. It is fundamentally different from the delaying tactics of some rich countries. But it is also irrelevant, if no co-operative actions are agreed.’

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For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact Rachel Baird on 0207 523 2446 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