Durban COP17: Crunch time for climate talks?

Press Release   •   Nov 25, 2011 08:37 GMT

The upcoming United Nations climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, which starts on Monday 28 November, will be dominated by a question hanging over the future of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) which expires at the end of next year. The protocol is the only legally-binding set of rules for greenhouse-gas emissions cuts that currently exists.

Get the latest on the talks from CAFOD’s Joseph Kabiru on Twitter >>

Another key issue for CAFOD and its partners is how developed country governments will start raising the much-needed resources pledged to help poorer countries adapt to a changing climate and build low carbon development.

CAFOD Director, Chris Bain said:

“The symbolic significance of this climate summit in Africa, a land of such beauty, potential abundance and climate fragility cannot be underestimated. It is time for developed countries to step up, to show that by incremental agreements they can bring the change the world needs to prevent catastrophe.

“CAFOD/CIDSE is calling for developed countries to show leadership by supporting the Kyoto Protocol to continue to 2015, as the only legally binding framework that can deliver the emissions cuts that we need to protect our planet, and agreeing to cut their own emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020.”

At the UN climate talks in Durban, CAFOD is calling on governments to do the following:

  • Secure the Kyoto Protocol. All Annex 1 countries should renew their commitment to the KP at Durban to show poorer countries that they are willing to take action. All governments should signal their willingness to move to a single global deal for emissions cuts that respects poorer countries’ right to sustainable development, by 2015 – the end of the second commitment period of the KP.
  • More meaningful action on emissions. All governments at Durban must agree on a long-term global goal for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. The earlier governments set a date when emissions will peak, the greater chance we have of keeping global warming below 2°C – the level agreed at Cancun in 2010. An effort-sharing approach between countries that takes into account responsibility for emissions and capacity to make cuts must be agreed.
  • Start raising long-term climate finance. Developed countries must agree a way to identify and raise the additional $100 billion dollars annually from 2020 promised to support developing countries tackling climate change . The timetable must ensure there is no financing gap after 2012 when short-term finance runs out.
  • Take forward innovative sources of climate finance. CAFOD believes that most of the funds for climate action should come from public sources. There are already new or innovative ways of raising public finance on the table. Agreement is now needed on implementing these. In particular, a decision is needed on taking forward a small tax on international shipping and aviation and making sure it will not impact negatively on developing countries.
  • Fulfil pledges on Fast Start Finance. On top of a work plan on long-term finance, developed countries must fulfil their previous pledges to provide financing to the tune of $30 billion in the period 2010-12, and report fully and transparently on funds disbursed to date at Durban.
  • Set up the Green Climate Fund (GCF). We want governments in Durban to start setting up the Fund in 2012 to support developing countries coping with climate change. The money should be managed so that it protects the environment and human rights and also takes gender into account. There should also be a balanced allocation of funds to mitigation – cutting emissions – and adaptation – helping countries to deal with the effects of climate change – to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable communities are met.

Keep in touch with what's happening in Durban

The CAFOD blog will feature updates from CAFOD experts and our partners throughout the talks.

Caravan of Hope

In the lead up to Durban, the ‘Caravan of Hope ’ – a coach convoy of hundreds of people – has been making its way from the Burundian capital of Bujumbura to South Africa. Some of those travelling on the Caravan have come from communities affected by drought in East Africa – they’re taking their stories about climate change to world leaders in Durban. Follow their progress live onTwitter or read blogs from some of those involved.