Civil society representatives call out big emitters for blocking progress in UN climate talks as negotiations near conclusion

13 December 2019

“Cheating does not change what the atmosphere sees. We don’t want any accounting tricks being created here.” 

 13 December 2019, Madrid, Spain: As the COP25 UN climate negotiations officially close today with the potential of talks running over the allocated time, Climate Action Network (CAN) held a press briefing to give an assessment of the state of negotiations and highlight the red lines that are emerging 


Reactions from CAN speakers:

Vanessa Perez-Cirera, Deputy  Lead, Global Climate and Energy Practice WWF

Pledges now take us to a 3 degree Celsius and more world. None of the big emitters have made commitments this week to increase their 2030 climate pledges. At the moment, there is good text options that would urge countries to do so in 2030. We must keep these options in the text. Big emitters have not only come here with empty hands but also to obstruct progress. They have to go home with an angry, disappointed and growing youth movement. They still have a chance to show the world that they are willing to agree with committed parties specifically an explicit mention to increasing ambition of climate pledges in 2020 in the decision text of COP25 and a cut-off date to do so so that the report on aggregate effects due by September or October next year to tell how much we have reduced the gigatonne gap in a significant way. 

They have to do it for us, for their children and for our living planet.

Chema Vera,  Interim Executive Director, Oxfam International

On loss and damage, this summit is not coming close to the urgency being demanded by frontline communities around the world suffering climate impacts. We are still waiting for the final outcome of the negotiations but we are not expecting any success that will speak about money and a system to really deliver on that money. The most vulnerable people that have called in one voice for the loss and damage at this COP but actions are not coming from wealthy countries. Two possible outcomes may be forthcoming: requesting the Green Climate Fund to open a stream for funding loss and damage but that still needs to be worked out on the how. If there is no extra money or financing, this stream would have to compete with adaptation and with other areas of climate funding. This does not address the core demand which is a funding system under the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. How do we explain this absolute injustice to a pastoralist in Somaliland that has lost all his livestock and is desperate for relief as climate impacts close in even further?


Sam Van den Plas,  Policy Director, Carbon Market Watch

In terms of Article 6 and rules for international carbon markets being discussed here, we are clearly at a critical stage in the negotiations. We saw new text coming out a couple of hours ago and still all those dodgy carbon market rules remain on the table that would fundamentally undermine the social and environmental integrity of the Paris Agreement. We still risk double counting of emissions reductions going forward. I cannot believe that I still have to explain this: cheating does not change what the atmosphere sees. We don’t want any accounting tricks being created here. The other issue of transferring old credits generated under the Kyoto Protocol, there are four billion out there from the Clean Development Mechanism, there are 15 billion out there assigned amount units under the Kyoto targets. Together, that’s 19 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide represents a real danger and risks to undermine the Paris Agreement from within 19 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide represents 700 coal plants running for ten years. A specific call-out to Brazilian and Australian governments who have done their utmost to undermine these rules. We are deeply concerned and distressed that all references to upholding human rights and establishing social and environmental safeguards have been removed from these talks. Governments must put this back in. We cannot afford to endanger human rights under the pretense and umbrella of climate policies. This is just unacceptable. Our main question to the Chilean Presidency and the governments present here: do you want to undermine the Paris Agreement or do you want to implement it properly? We need to get it right and we need to get these rules correct. It would be a massive disaster for this COP if we end up with flawed and weak rules undermining climate targets for many, many years to come. 


Astrid Puentes, IEEDA, Colombia

I want to raise our concern in terms of the lack of inclusion of human rights in Article 6 and in general, the whole agreement. This is not a minor element. We are already seeing massive human rights violations against millions of people worldwide. I am from Colombia and I live in Mexico. Latin America is a very vulnerable region at the moment. Governments are not getting to the level of ambition and the kind of agreements that we need, that the planet needs. We need these agreements to include human rights protections because we are not only talking about markets, we are talking about survival. We are talking about people, communities and future generations. We also need a good inclusion of transparency and participation – not only in the agreement but also in the implementation of the nationally determined contributions and all climate action. From Latin America and the Caribbean, we have seen some good messages with countries signing to the Escazu Agreement. This is the kind of good messaging that we need our governments to include that level of commitment in this agreement as well. We also think that there’s hope outside these halls where countries are dragging their feet. We see non-state actors striving to come forward because governments are not delivering today.

#### ENDS ####



Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Officer, CAN




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