A marcher on the interfaith rally calling for a voice for civil society at UN talks in Durban. Credit: Patrick Nicholson/Caritas
By Patrick Nicholson
Thousands of civil society campaigners marched through Durban to protest at a failure of governments within the UN climate talks to make progress on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and providing financing for poor countries to adapt to the consequences of extreme weather conditions.
Among them were Caritas staff from Africa, Europe and Latin America, who joined interfaith campaigners calling for a voice at the talks.
“We are protagonists of our own future,” said Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga earlier to some of the marchers. They were participating at a meeting organised by German Catholic development agency Misereor and Catholic development network CIDSE. Continue reading
I love KP stunt at the Cancun climate talks. Credit Christine Campeau/Caritas
By Christine Campeau, Climate Change and Food Security Advisor Palazzo San Calisto
We were greeted at the CancunMesse convention centre today with an offer to have our picture taken while standing in a heart, holding an ‘I love KP’ sign (KP is short for Kyoto Protocol). And we did. People lined up one by one to show their devotion for the legally binding treaty that is set to expire shortly.
This stunt in support of the Kyoto Protocol came in retaliation to the harsh statement made by Japan on Monday when it announced that it would ‘not inscribe its target under the Kyoto Protocol under any conditions or under any circumstances’. Yes, you heard it correctly. Continue reading
Posted by Liz Gallagher, CAFOD Head of Climate Finance Policy
It’s been seven months since I last ventured by train to Bonn, where the majority of the UN climate change negotiations take place. Last August, I bid farewell to the city, which had for most of last year had become like a second home for those of us climate negotiation nerds.
A lot has happened since I departed last summer. Further negotiations took place in Bangkok, Barcelona and of course Copenhagen.
Copenhagen was an iconic meeting, not because it delivered anything of substance to tackle climate change, but because it amplified the tensions and distrust that had lurked in the shadows for the past few years, climaxing in a fumbled and totally inadequate outcome – the Copenhagen Accord. Continue reading
Sr Aine Hughes of Caritas South Africa and Christine Campeau, Caritas delegate at the UN in Geneva, marching for climate justice in Copenhagen in December. Credit: Nicholson/Caritas
By Christine Campeau, UN Delegate, Caritas Internationalis
The Copenhagen summit on climate change brought together 115 Heads of State and Government and more than 40,000 people applying for accreditation, which far exceeded the conference center’s 15,000 capacity, to reach a meaningful deal. No legally binding deal was reached and what was agreed fell sort of what scientists say we need to do to save the planet and our own skins.
What did come out was the Copenhagen Accord was a non-transparent, non-binding deal drafted up by the US, Brazil, China, India, and South Africa that the official UNFCCC Secretariat only agreed ‘to take note of’.
As the fanfare and recriminations from Copenhagen ebb, negotiators are facing the hard task of putting talks back on some sort of recognized road to reaching a deal. No agenda has been set at this stage to move this agreement forward.
That lack of gusto was much in evidence this week as 55 countries announced their pledges as part of the Copenhagen Accord on ‘mitigation’ – what actions they will take to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading
Rich countries’ words must match deeds on emission reductions
Catholic development agencies call for integrity on final day of Copenhagen climate talks
CIDSE and Caritas Internationalis, the largest development alliance in the world, say that the leak late yesterday of a UN report that proved that there is a significant gap between developed country rhetoric and their emission reduction commitments to date. They fall far short of what is required to prevent climate catastrophe in the future setting an unparalleled challenge to rich countries on the last day of the climate talks.
By Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio, Head of the Holy See Delegation
This conference reiterates how long it takes to create the clear and firm political will necessary to adopt common binding measures and adequate budgets for an effective mitigation and adaptation to ongoing climate change.
As all will have no doubt gathered from the media coverage, the COP has taken a number of unforeseen turns since the weekend, some predictable, some less so.
The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement at Copenhagen today that the US will agree to $100bn per year for the poorest nations will help break the deadlock at the climate talks.
Caritas England and Wales (CAFOD) Head of Climate Finance,Liz Gallagher representing Caritas and its sister network CIDSE in Copenhagen.
She said: “Finally the big freeze in Copenhagen is beginning to thaw. We had high expectations of what America could bring to the process, but fears that the reality would fall way short. This money on the table shows strong political will and opens the door to a good deal.
“But it is still not enough to ensure the poorest are guaranteed protection from the worst impacts of climate change. We need clarity on what is public finance and whether this finance will be in addition to existing aid targets. Hillary Clinton also needs to explain how, and through which institutions, the money will be delivered. But with fewer than 48 hours until the end of these talks, this injection of much-needed commitment brings the negotiations back on track.”
The $100bn figure is conditional to the UN reaching an ambitious deal in which major economies agree to meaningful, transparent mitigation actions. This finance announcement was in line with Gordon Brown’s speech this morning at the Bella Centre in Copenhagen. But the UK prime minister went further on the details in his proposal including a pledge of additionality which is vital to the future of the world’s poorest nations.
Following these positive developments at the summit, tonight’s meeting of EU heads of state will face high expectations. The European bloc must raise its ambition and commit to a unilateral offer of emissions targets above 30% and ensure this figure is watertight.
Gallagher added: “It’s time for the developed nations to step up to the plate. America and the UK have revealed their hand, now others must follow their lead.”
For further information:
Pascale Palmer at Copenhagen +44 7785 950 585 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Tofiga Falani and Fr Erny Gillen at the Caritas-WCC event
Tensions are mounting at UN talks on climate change in Copenhagen as world leaders head to the Danish capital.
Talks went late into the night with little sign of compromise. Much work now faces the Heads of State as they arrive for the final days of the conference which wraps up on Friday.
Civil society organizations were livid after organizers reduced the size of ngo delegations and made gaining entry into the Bella Centre a trial of eight hour queues in freezing conditions to only be told registration was closed.
It went down as well as a snow ball in the face, but a lot more icy. If you’d come from South Africa on the understanding you’d be allowed entry, you’d understandably be irked.
Caritas Europa President Fr Erny Gillen was one of the many left out in the cold on Monday, even though he was an official speaker at a Caritas-World Council of Churches event to present the view from the churches. Luckily, police relented just in time and let Fr Gillen through with minutes to spare to give his presentation.
Read this entry in French
Church bells in Copenhagen and across Denmark rang Sunday as part of a Caritas supported-campaign for climate justice.
The bells tolled 350 times to mark the number that refers to what scientists say is a safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.