Some progress made at international climate talks

Feature story - 18 November, 2006
After two weeks of talks, ministers attending the UN Climate Change Conference in Nairobi have acknowledged for the first time that global CO2 emissions must be cut by more than 50 percent to avoid dangerous climate change.

Composite image of 3 pictures showing glacier retreat from 1948 to 2006.From left to right: 1948, 2002, 2006

"Small steps forward have been taken here in Nairobi to ensure that there is no gap between the first and second phases of Kyoto," said Steve Sawyer, Climate Policy Advisor for Greenpeace International, "but we need to pick up the pace in order to start the formal negotiations next year."

"For the first time in this process, Governments have finally acknowledged the need to cut global greenhouse gas emissions by more than half, but much more must be done to fill the gap between the stark reality of climate change and the slow incremental progress of these talks," said Sawyer.

This Climate Conference, the first to be held in sub-Saharan Africa, achieved some progress for developing countries with the agreement of the principles for the Adaptation Fund, a unique financial instrument, which uses a levy on the carbon market transactions to generate money to help the world's poorest and most vulnerable people adapt to the reality of climate change they are facing today.

It is the poor, least-developed countries, which are being hit first and hardest by the devastating effects of climate change; a legacy from the developed world.

Mind the gap

While progress was made in Nairobi, there is still a disconnect between the urgent calls from around the world for action on climate change, and the level of ambition demonstrated by many governments at global climate negotiations.

From the avalanche of press reports on the changing climate and the rising tide of public concern, pressure for hard action is growing by the day. Many of the tough measures required to stop dangerous climate change were pushed to next year or not even on the table for discussion at all.

While some governments, who favour polluting industry over protecting the planet, will never like taking tough decisions, they still need to be taken if there is to be any chance of global action to stop climate change. Ministers meet only once a year for one week at the UN climate negotiations but carbon emission are increasing everyday and the climate is changing faster than ever.

Something has to change - for the sake of the planet it must be the level of urgency that all governments give to tackling climate change.

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