Consider this: When Environment Secretary Chris Huhne robustly defended the need for a new global climate deal, he was presumably unaware that his Government was reported to be giving Canada ‘high level, secret support’ for its tar sands imports to Europe? It’s game over for the climate if the oil sands are exploited, NASA scientist James Hansen claims. Such are the climate politics facing the ITUC’s 200-strong delegation assembling in Durban. The usually conservative International Energy Agency says we are 5 years from a point of no return on CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.
So, in Durban, to help drive home the urgency of action, the ITUC is lining up a major two week programme: lobbying Governments, public events and open debates at its flagship World of Work (WOW) Pavilion at the University of Kwazulu Natal.
Brazil’s chief negotiator, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, has warned America and other industrialised countries that they could prompt the collapse of the Durban climate talks if they to try to escape their commitments to a $100bn climate aid fund. And a special IPCC report on Extreme Events confirms that emissions from human activities are increasing the frequency of heatwaves, droughts and changes in rainfall patterns, with developing nations hardest hit.
These reports are windows into the future if our political response doesn’t honestly and urgently deal with the extreme exploitation of oil, coal and gas.
Workers & Climate Change, the ITUC’s statement to COP sets out three practical and powerful demands for a new global climate deal:
- Mitigation & the legal outcome
- Developed countries must commit to an emission reduction target of at least 25% to 40% by 2020.
- Major emitters in developing countries and emerging countries should take actions to develop below business as usual – through renewable energy, efficient technologies and public transport.
- A “high ambition” Kyoto Protocol 2: to avoid a gap in emission reduction commitments and preserve the legally-binding Kyoto Protocol, it should be renewed from 2012, with the highest emission target already ‘pledged’ or more.
- Durban should deliver a roadmap ensuring the $100 billion agreed in Cancun will be directed through the Fund, detailing the public sources, and incorporating innovative sources of finance such as the Financial Transactions Tax.