Four Billion People Threatened by Water Shortages if World Leaders Stumble at 2010’s First Climate Change Hurdle

For Immediate Release

Contact: 
Phone
+1 617 482 1211 (Toll-free 1-800-77-OXFAM)

Four Billion People Threatened by Water Shortages if World Leaders Stumble at 2010’s First Climate Change Hurdle

WASHINGTON - World leaders are set to
fail their first test on climate change since Copenhagen and put the
world on track for almost four degrees of warming, said Oxfam
International today, ahead of the 31 January deadline for countries to
submit emission reduction targets under the Copenhagen Accord.

Despite agreeing that temperatures should be kept from rising above
the two-degree danger level at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen,
world leaders are so far failing to provide adequate emissions cuts
targets. The European Union, Japan and Australia have already put their
plans on the table, none of which improve on the offers they made
before Copenhagen.

Rich countries pledges on emissions cuts are expected to total just
12-18 per cent below 1990 levels – less than half of the 40 per cent
cuts needed from rich countries to keep temperatures in check.

The pledges expected under the Accord will, according to climate
models, lead to a nearly four degree centigrade rise in global
temperature by 2100. Scientists predict this will create a world
crippled by drought with four billion people affected by water
shortages across the globe, year round droughts in Southern Africa and
serious droughts in Europe every ten years instead of every one hundred
years.

Antonio Hill, Climate Advisor for Oxfam International said:

“World leaders are set to fail their first test on whether they
meant what they said in Copenhagen.  They recognized that temperatures
should be kept from rising above the two degree danger level but are
still talking about emissions cuts that will create a near four degree
world crippled by drought.”

Oxfam says the Accord proves that the bottom up approach, where
countries set their own emission reduction targets, will not deliver
the cuts that are needed.  The international agency is calling for a
global target for emissions reductions based on the science and for
national contributions to the global target to be calculated according
to a country’s historical responsibility for creating the climate
crisis and their economic capability for tackling it.  This would, for
example, mean Europe should cut its emissions by at least 44% percent
below 1990 levels by 2020, as opposed to its current target of just 20
per cent.

To deliver their fair share of global effort to tackle climate
change, rich countries should also provide $200 billion per year by
2020 to help developing countries adapt and reduce their own emissions.
The Accord aims to raise just $100bn a year and progress hangs on the
establishment of a High Level Panel to recommend how the money will be
raised and delivered.

The Accord also promises $30 bn in fast track finance - emergency
funds to help the poorest and most vulnerable countries cope with
climate impacts over the next three years. For example Bangladesh, one
of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change, needs an
estimated $1.5m, to provide drinking water to coastal communities whose
traditional water sources have been contaminated with salt water due to
sea level rise.

Hill said: “The next big test is whether the world leaders will be
able to deliver the climate cash promised in the Accord.  This means
delivering the emergency funds the poorest countries need to adapt to
climate change now and sorting out how to raise and deliver $100 bn
within the year.”

“The lackluster response shows the Accord isn’t solving anything.
Only a UN deal can deliver the global emissions reductions that are
needed and ensure the voices of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable
countries are heard. Real negotiations must restart now. Every year we
delay an estimated 150,000 people will have died and a further one
million displaced as a result of climate change.”

Join Oxfam's Climate Change Petition now

###

Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam works directly with communities and that seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

Share This Article

More in: