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Durban Climate Talks Begin, Hotline 11.29.11


US Climate Action Network
November 29, 2011

Durban Climate Talks Begin

Yesterday, the 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) began in Durban, South Africa. The UN Climate Talks will span two weeks and include delegates from 194 countries but also hundreds of public interest organizations and thousands of activists from around the world will join them to advocate for a fair, ambitious and binding agreement that will reduce global emissions, build vulnerable nations’ resilience to climate change and foster a low-carbon green economy globally.

One major concern is that of timing and urgency. In Durban, we are at a crucial turning point in addressing climate change. Governments will choose either to delay progress or recognize that meaningful action is needed now. The world is dangerously close to passing the threshold for runaway climate change. Delaying the negotiation of a global binding deal to 2020 will condemn people worldwide to suffering accelerating and uncontrollable effects of climate change for generations to come. To read more about why 2020 is too late to wait and for a daily insiders look at what is happening in the negotiations check out CAN- I’s ECO here which will be published every day of the negotiations.

Just days before the talks started 53 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urging the Obama administration to pursue a just and ambitious agenda in the climate talks. Susan Tambi Matambo, International Policy Coordinator with US Climate Action Network said in a press release about the letter, “Now, more than ever, strong leadership from the Obama administration is paramount to support those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The US has a unique opportunity in Durban to ensure that the Green Climate Fund is operational and provided with the finances required for adaptation, technology transfer and the reduction of deforestation in developing countries.” You can find this letter and many more resources on US CAN’s Durban Climate Talks web page.

Also last week, a new study was released by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Bridging the Emissions Gap which outlines the needed pathways to cover the Gigatonne Gap which is needed urgently to get world onto a safe track. According to WWFs global climate and energy initiative head Samantha Smith the report is “a big reality check for negotiators in Durban. It clearly shows the world heading for very dangerous levels of climate change if decisive action isn’t taken now” see the report here.

Don’t forget keep up with the negotiations and related COP-17 resources by checking out the web, following us on facebook and twitter.

Marie Risalvato, Communications Coordinator

Peter Bahouth, Executive Director
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“I have called on all vulnerable countries to ‘occupy’ Durban. We need an expression of solidarity by the delegations of those countries that are most affected by climate change, who go from one meeting to the next without getting responses on the issues that need to be dealt with.” – José María Figueres, Former President of Costa Rica.