Too little but not too late

By mborum

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POZNAN, POLAND - As government Ministers arrive today at climate change talks in Poznan, international agency Oxfam called on them to kick start stalled negotiations to secure a deal by Copenhagen in 2009.

?The UN negotiations towards emissions reductions beyond 2012 have proceeded at a glacial pace,? said Phil Bloomer, senior executive with Oxfam. ?Poznan was meant to be a staging post on the way to an ambitious deal that would be achieved in Copenhagen, but instead, it is like a polluting truck stalled in the truck stop.?

Far from the rapid progress that was needed after last year?s conference in Bali, little has been achieved. On the big issues—a vision for the future, targets, financing, clean technology—the negotiating text has not progressed.

?This is collective complacency on a major scale?, said Bloomer. ?But it is not too late for Ministers to make crucial decisions that would move the negotiations forward.?

Ministers have been asked by the Secretary General Yvo de Boer to address six questions at a round table on Thursday. The right answers to those questions—answers based on science and reflecting equity—would move the negotiations forward. It is not too late to salvage an outcome from Poznan. Oxfam?s suggested answers are included here.

Oxfam called for urgent action especially on the issue of adaptation—helping developing countries protect themselves from climate impacts and adapt to them. The elements are almost agreed to—starting up the Adaptation Fund, finalising a work programme, and, the crucial element, ensuring enough funding to meet the urgent needs. Negotiators are stuck on this last issue, but without it, there is little that can be done to save lives and prevent suffering.

?Ministers could leave Poznan with an agreement on adaptation, an issue that is crucial to millions of people suffering from climate change impacts,? said Bloomer. ?But sensible proposals on funding adaptation have so far been rejected by negotiators from the EU and most other rich countries. This is unacceptable. Instead of ducking the finance issue, Ministers arriving in Poznan must reach a decision to fund adaptation in developing countries to take effect as soon as the ink is dry in Copenhagen.?

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