Charities ‘disappointed’ by climate talks outcome

Environmental activists wearing politician puppet faces protest as climate changes talks take place in Peru. Picture: AP
Environmental activists wearing politician puppet faces protest as climate changes talks take place in Peru. Picture: AP
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ENVIRONMENTAL charities have said they are “bitterly disappointed” by the outcome of UN climate change talks in Peru.

Negotiators in Lima reached a last-minute agreement on a framework between developing and rich nations for making firm pledges to cut pollution at a summit in Paris next year.

WWF Scotland described the deal as “half-baked” and said it was more important than ever for Scotland, along with other countries, to take urgent action to deliver on climate change commitments.

The charity’s director Lang Banks, who has been in Lima as an observer, said: “The final outcome from Lima is bitterly disappointing.

“These talks leave a huge amount of unfinished business for countries to try and resolve before Paris if we’re to stand a chance of securing a new global climate deal that’s both fair and ambitious.

“We need to see global emissions peak by the end of decade, yet there’s a yawning gap between what the outcome in Lima commits nations to do and the scale of what the climate science is telling us. Worse still, these commitments will not be enough to protect those most vulnerable to climate chaos, but the least responsible for causing the problem.”

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He added: “In the case of Scotland, with our three missed climate targets, that means putting at least the same amount of effort into reducing emissions from transport, housing and other sectors as is successfully being put in to harnessing clean energy from renewables.”

Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s global climate and energy initiative, said: “Against the backdrop of extreme weather in the Philippines and potentially the hottest year ever recorded, governments at the UN climate talks in Lima opted for a half-baked plan to cut emissions.

“Governments crucially failed to agree on specific plans to cut emissions before 2020 that would have laid the ground for ending the fossil fuel era and accelerated the move toward renewable energy and increased energy efficiency.

“The science is clear that delaying action until 2020 will make it near impossible to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, yet political expediency won over scientific urgency. Instead of leadership, they delivered a lacklustre plan with little scientific relevancy.”

Mary Church, Friends of the Earth Scotland head of campaigns, said: “What we’ve seen in Lima is a deliberate attempt by countries who’ve benefited from many decades of pumping carbon into the atmosphere to avoid paying their climate debt, with the strong risk of locking in catastrophic warming.

“Exhausted negotiators are walking away from Lima with the foundations of a Paris deal built on sand when the urgency of the crisis demands that they are built on rock.”

She added: “Five years on, Scotland’s Climate Act remains the most ambitious domestic legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the industrialised world. In the context of the totally inadequate pledges on the table in Lima, it is more important than ever that Scotland starts to live up to its leadership role by putting in place further serious, practical measures to curb emissions.”

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