Mission Critical: Doha Talks Must Forge Path to Ambitious 2015 Global Climate Treaty



Doha, Qatar – With several negotiation streams scheduled to conclude this December and a new global treaty to be agreed in three years, Conservation International warns that all countries participating in the annual UN climate talks must take on a renewed sense of urgency if we are to avoid what scientists forecast will be irreversible damage to our planet’s natural life support systems and the vital services they provide to all humanity.
Beginning today in Doha, Qatar, the 18th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) provides a critical window of opportunity for establishing a robust roadmap toward a 2015 global agreement that holds temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius - the threshold at which science warns of dangerous tipping points which will affect water security, food security, economic security, and human well being.
To confront these risks, Conservation International strongly believes that success will depend on progress in at least three key areas:
1)     Progress towards an ambitious 2015 global climate treaty which builds upon the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally-binding international agreement addressing the urgent need for emissions reductions;
2)     Securing diverse sources of funding, including private sector investment, along with new financial public funding commitments from developed countries to help developing countries undertake aggressive solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change;
3)     Decisions that enable countries to immediately increase the scale of implementation of actions to both slow and prepare for the impacts of climate change, particularly in areas such as the initiative known as REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) in which developing countries are compensated for keeping forests standing, thereby reducing emissions from deforestation.
“These are the pillars of a successful plan to stabilize the climate, one with increased commitment for immediate actions to avoid catastrophic levels of global warming, and which harnesses the power of nature itself to ensure that humans and all species may adapt to climate change,” said Dr. Fred Boltz, Senior Vice-President for International Policy at Conservation International. “Climate change is already affecting our planet and nature must play a central role in providing solutions for the biggest challenge of our time.”
He added: “This year’s conference is crucial because many of the negotiations which have been taking place since 2007 will draw to a close. We need to make sure the progress that has been made over the past five years is not lost. The new global agreement for 2015 must build upon and increase the ambitions of existing commitments, such as the Kyoto Protocol, investments in REDD+, and financing for developing countries. With growing recognition of the magnitude of the climate problem, nations must commit to a common, aggressive agenda to resolve this crisis under a bold 2015 global treaty.”
Financial Support
Sustained financial resources are an imperative for this conference as funding is urgently needed to enable vulnerable nations and communities to deal with extreme weather events, rising sea levels, droughts, and other environmental risks. The initial $30 billion pledge by developed countries made in Copenhagen in 2009 is expiring this December, and there have not been new pledges to sustain this vital financing, to meet the promise of mobilizing $100 billion per year by 2020, or to fill the coffers of the Green Climate Fund established last year in South Africa.
Conservation International is asking for pledges to at least $60 billion from2013-2015, or double the so called “fast start” promise in Copenhagen, in addition to $10-15 billion for the Green Climate Fund.
“The debt problems facing several wealthy nations make it more challenging for them to put money on the table. But, if funding is not provided now, the future costs of inaction will be prohibitive in both financial and human terms. The $100 billion figure must not be an empty promise nor the Green Climate Fund an empty bank account,” said Boltz. “In Doha countries must specify how much and when they will contribute. Realistically, to undertake actions commensurate with the climate problem, nations must substantially increase their financial commitments and capitalize the Green Climate Fund for real investment, not merely political rhetoric.”
Solutions Now
Conservation International also stresses the need for decisions that will enable countries to immediately scale up their efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. The organization has deep expertise in the vital role of nature in fighting climate change, and therefore, will be paying close attention to developments in REDD+—which aims to simultaneously reduce carbon emissions and stop deforestation -- and the use of nature to help people cope with climate change, a process known as “ecosystem-based adaptation”.
Rebecca Chacko, Senior Director for Climate Policy at Conservation International, said: “Adaptation is now broadly recognized as a critical component of the international climate change regime. Decisions in Doha must begin translate policy framework into real action on the ground. Recognizing and supporting the role nature can play in helping people adapt to climate change by providing clean water, buffering storm surge and offering other vital environmental services is one of the most cost-effective ways we can move towards sustainable climate solutions. Failure to do so will put millions of lives and livelihoods at risk.”
Conservation International is calling on policymakers at Doha to:
•         Allocate specific and adequate funds from industrialized and emerging economies for adaptation projects in the developing world;
•         Prioritize the protection of natural ecosystems for their vital role in disaster risk reduction and management;
•         Include approaches to adaptation that place a high priority on natural ecosystems and traditional knowledge;
•         Ensure the effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities.
On REDD+, Conservation International calls on negotiators to increase commitments to financing, technical support and implementation to establish REDD+ as an effective climate change solution and a foundation for sustainable development in forested nations. There must be agreements on public and private funding sources, and advances on guidelines for how countries will measure, report and verify emissions reductions.
“We have seen promising progress in REDD+ pilot projects since 2009, and learned important lessons to make it effective and fair. But the true potential of this solution lies in its scale. Patchwork projects will not suffice. In order for REDD+ to become the globally impactful mechanism we know it can be, we need to solve two important questions: how will it be financed and how will countries report on emissions reductions so that both public and private investors have confidence that REDD+ is producing real results”, said Chacko.
She concluded: “Deforestation alone is responsible for more than 15 percent of global carbon emissions, so nature-based solutions like REDD+ provide some of the most immediate, cost-effective, and sensible solutions for slowing climate change while bringing social benefits to communities in developing countries at the same time.”
Learn more at: www.conservation.org/cop18 
For more information, contact:
Patricia Yakabe Malentaqui, International Media Manager, Conservation International
Office +1 (703) 341-2471 / email pmalentaqui@conservation.org
Note to editors:
Conservation International - Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature and its global biodiversity to promote the long-term well-being of people. Founded in 1987 and marking its 25th anniversary in 2012, CI is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area. CI employs 900 staff in nearly 30 countries on four continents and works with more than 1,000 partners around the world. For more information, please see www.conservation.org/cop18 or visit us on Facebook  and Twitter.

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