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UN Climate Talks: Too little but not too late

Possible Progress in Poznan Hinges on Adaptation Finance

POZNAN, Poland

As government Ministers
arrive today at climate change talks in Poznan, Oxfam called on them to
kick start stalled negotiations to secure a deal by Copenhagen in 2009.

"The UN negotiations towards emissions reductions beyond 2012
have proceeded at a glacial pace," said Phil Bloomer, senior executive
with Oxfam. "Poznan was meant to be a staging post on the way to an
ambitious deal that would be achieved in Copenhagen, but instead, it is
like a polluting truck stalled in the truck stop."

Far from the
rapid progress that was needed after last year's conference in Bali,
little has been achieved. On the big issues - a vision for the future,
targets, financing, clean technology - the negotiating text has not

"This is collective complacency on a major scale,"
said Bloomer. "But it is not too late for Ministers to make crucial
decisions that would move the negotiations forward."

have been asked by the Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer to address six
questions at a round table on Thursday. The right answers to those
questions - answers based on science and reflecting equity - would move
the negotiations forward. It is not too late to salvage an outcome from
Poznan. Oxfam's suggested answers are included here.

called for urgent action especially on the issue of adaptation -
helping developing countries protect themselves from climate impacts
and adapt to them. The elements are almost agreed to - starting up the
Adaptation Fund, finalizing a work program, and, the crucial element,
ensuring enough funding to meet the urgent needs. Negotiators are stuck
on this last issue, but without it, there is little that can be done to
save lives and prevent suffering.

"Ministers could leave Poznan
with an agreement on adaptation, an issue that is crucial to millions
of people suffering from climate change impacts," said Bloomer. "But
sensible proposals on funding adaptation have so far been rejected by
negotiators from the EU and most other rich countries. This is
unacceptable. Instead of ducking the finance issue, Ministers arriving
in Poznan must reach a decision to fund adaptation in developing
countries to take effect as soon as the ink is dry in Copenhagen."

Notes to editors

Oxfam's suggested answers for the six questions posed to ministers in Poznan:

ministers arriving in Poznan have been asked to discuss six questions
in a round table. Here is a "cheat sheet" for the ministers with the
(simplified) questions and Oxfam's suggested answers.

1. What cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are needed?

need to listen to the scientific evidence and keep global temperature
from rising to avoid climate chaos. Rich countries must agree to cut
emissions by at least 25-40% by 2020 in order to stay below 2degC
warming. There would be catastrophic impacts above that, with almost
two billion people likely to be affected by water shortages, global
agriculture undermined, and hunger likely to kill up to three million
more people every year.

2. What can developing countries do to contribute?

countries can do a lot, and in fact many of them already are. But rich
countries have caused this problem and they must deliver on their
promises of funding and clean technology to help developing countries
do more. Under any objective framework of fairness, the lion's share of
emissions reductions and finance and technology obligations fall on
industrialised countries for at least the next three decades.

3. How can vulnerable countries prepare for climate change and adapt to it?

have always adapted to natural variability in the climate, but human
induced climate change will create unprecedented climate stress for
many of the world's most vulnerable communities. Early action must be
taken to reduce their vulnerabilities and build their resilience to
these new and heightened risks. We know a lot about how to prepare for
natural disasters and build community resilience. It is time to
deliver. Poznan must agree to start up the new Adaptation Fund and now
deliver new money, especially for the Least Developed Countries. Now,
not later.

4. How can we make clean low-carbon technologies available to developing countries?

countries have already made interesting proposals to address this, but
rich nations have not responded. Companies need to be involved, but
governments must put in place strong regulation to ensure that there
are real benefits in terms of clean and sustainable development.

5. How can we generate the funding needed to make this happen?

nations need to make commitments in Poznan to kick start this process.
They agree here to start immediately after Copenhagen 2009 with at
least a 2% sharing of proceeds from emissions trading to support the
Adaptation Fund. Then funding needs to scale up from there.

6. What kinds of funding mechanisms do we need?

new Adaptation Fund has a good balance in its governance system and
rich countries should fund it by instituting a polluter pays regime
that delivers dependable flows of financing. This precedent should
inform development of a comprehensive arrangement for a financial
mechanism under the Convention. We can develop new sources of funding
by using already existing mechanisms, such as auctioning emissions that
rich countries are allowed or levying airline and shipping fuels.
World leaders were able to find trillions of dollars for the financial
crisis; the amounts being asked for to combat climate change are a
fraction of that. If we don't act on climate change, we will soon not
need a financial system.

Oxfam International is a global movement of people who are fighting inequality to end poverty and injustice. We are working across regions in about 70 countries, with thousands of partners, and allies, supporting communities to build better lives for themselves, grow resilience and protect lives and livelihoods also in times of crisis.