WWF: G20 Note Urgency, but Fail to Act on Financing

The World Wildlife Fund released an assessment of the Sept. 26 meeting of G20 leaders in Pittsburgh, saying that leaders acknowledged the urgent need for a deal in Copenhagen but failed to make any specific decisions on financing for climate change. They called on finance ministers to continue their work and report back at their November meeting in Scotland with a range of options for climate change financing to be considered at the UNFCCC negotiations in Copenhagen.

"In spite of the disappointing result of G20 on climate finance, we are still optimistic about the overall impression of this week's high-level climate discussions in the U.S. Some doors were opened as we saw important political signals from both developed and developing nations, but time is running out and we need to move quickly from rhetoric to concrete action," said Kim Carstensen, leader of WWF's global climate initiative. "Rich countries, especially the U.S., E.U. and Japan, can no longer hide behind emerging economies and need to commit to the right level of finance to remove barriers in the negotiations for a global agreement in Copenhagen. They failed to do so in Pittsburgh."

Some encouraging progress was made on the issue of phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, but leaders postponed decisions on firm actions and timetables to their next summit. The commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies has the potential to generate hundreds of billions of dollars for clean energy development and access to clean energy for the poor. At the UN conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, countries have to agree to a climate treaty that has the power to save the planet from devastating climate change. This means the treaty must be fair, ambitious, and binding.

WWF asks countries to:

  • Agree to a strong, legally binding climate regime for the period after 2012, by amending the Kyoto Protocol and agreeing to a new Copenhagen Protocol;
  • Ensure that global carbon emissions peak by 2017 at the latest and decline quickly thereafter, with an aim to cut global emissions by at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050;
  • Agree to decarbonize developed country economies by 2050 and to reduce their emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels in 2020 as a first step;
  • Facilitate the transition to low-carbon economies in developing countries by providing $160 billion annually as financing for mitigation and adaptation and by providing access to clean technologies;
  • Support immediate action for climate change adaptation in developing countries;
  • Support a zero net deforestation target by 2020.

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