CANCUN, MEXICO, 11 December 2010 – The agreement adopted at the UN climate talks in Cancun has failed to make progress on the most essential part: steep, binding emissions cuts for developed countries. Friends of the Earth International warns that this agreement provides a platform for abandoning the Kyoto Protocol, replacing it with a weak pledge and review system as a legacy of the Copenhagen Accord, that would lead to a devastating five degree Celsius warming.

Friends of the Earth International COP16 Statement

Nnnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International said: “The agreement reached here is wholly inadequate and could lead to catastrophic climate change. The rich countries that are primarily responsible for climate change, lead by the US, with Russia and Japan, are to blame for the lack of desperately needed greater ambition. This is a slap in the face of those who already suffer from climate change. But in the end all of us will be affected by the lack of ambition and political will of a small group of countries”

To prevent catastrophic climate change, an agreement is needed that includes science-based, aggregate targets for developed countries under the Kyoto Protocol, whereby rich countries reduce emissions by at least 40 percent with no role for carbon markets, offsets and loopholes. Carbon markets are not the solution for climate change but just a means for rich countries to continue business as usual.

Despite the lack of advancement on key issues, some progress has been made in other areas. The establishment of a Global Climate Fund is a step forward to build on. The 100 billion dollars put on the table for this fund, however, is not commensurate with equity and need. Rich countries must live up to their obligations to provide sufficient public funds to developing countries so they can grow cleanly and adept to the impacts of climate change they already suffer from.  Progress has also been achieved in adaptation to help poor countries address the impacts of climate change. The World Bank having a role in climate finance is not acceptable.

Lucia Ortiz of Friends of the Earth Brazil said:

“Mechanisms to stop deforestation are not supposed to allow rich countries to continue emitting carbon. Forests are not just stocks of carbon and they should not be commercialized. Money to protect forests must come from the developed
countries.”

Nnimmo Bassey said:

“The UN remains key to humanity’s collective response to this crisis and we see that the multilateral process is moving forward. However, the UN is only as strong as the countries that compose it. We could not achieve the progress that is needed in Cancun because the rich countries that are primarily responsible for climate pollution have prevented it. Rich countries tried to assassinate the Kyoto Protocol and it is now on life support, we have to redouble our efforts in the coming year to revive it.”

Lucia Ortiz of Friends of the Earth Brazil, said:

“We applaud the principled and courageous position of Bolivia, which has consistently called for and worked for ambitious action. Bolivia came here with a mandate from the Cochabamba agreement and listened to the thousands of people in Cancun. All over the world people are taking to the streets and demanding real solutions to the climate crisis. The movement is growing, as we have seen here in Cancun, and Friends of the Earth International will continue to pressure governments to reach a global agreement the world needs, next year in Durban.”