Protesters to tell rich nations to meet targets


DURBAN 2011:UP TO 20,000 activists are expected to march today to the climate change negotiations in Durban, South Africa,to put pressure on leaders of industrialised nations to meet their carbon emissions reduction commitments under the Kyoto protocol.

The mass mobilisation will go ahead even though South African president Jacob Zuma said yesterday he believed the talks were going well and promoting an environment conducive to constructive engagement. Although there were differing views on the outcome of the talks, there was general agreement that they should decisively deal with a second commitment period for the Kyoto protocolm he said.

“Generally, parties agree that Durban should operationalise the Cancún agreements,” Mr Zuma said. There was also a need to implement the Green Climate Fund which helps developing countries adapt to climate change.

Countries agreed to form the fund during the Cancún talks in Mexico last year and a transitional committee was formed.

“The Green Climate Fund that was agreed to in Cancún must be operationalised. This must be done by adopting the report of the transitional committee and through an early launch of the fund,” Mr Zuma said.

Despite his upbeat position, the world’s poorest countries have put themselves on a collision course with nations such as Canada, the US and Japan by asking that a new climate deal covering all nations begin immediately.

The block of the 48 least-developed countries and small islands have tabled papers saying a new deal should be finalised within 12 months. However, industrialised countries, many of which are failing to meet their original emissions reduction pledges, are reluctant to deliver a second round of carbon-cutting commitments under Kyoto, with the US saying it did not see the need for a new treaty until after 2020.

African civil society groups yesterday urged nations across the continent to stand together and not bend to pressure from developed nations to abandon their call for commitments to be adhered to.

“Africa must stand united in Durban,” said Bobby Peek from Friends of the Earth International. “People in Africa are already paying the price of 200 years of industrial pollution by the developed world. “Africa must fight to ensure that developed countries deliver on their legal and moral obligation to cut the emissions that are putting the lives of millions of people at risk.”

 - Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said he is proposing that Ireland make a further contribution of €10 million this year towards Ireland’s commitment to help least developed countries tackle the effects of climate change. The Minister indicated that Dáil approval would be sought next week to make the contribution from savings arising in his department this year.