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Climate deal short-changed world’s poorest people, says Oxfam

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OxfamTHE Paris climate deal has brought worlds powers together but short-changed the poorest and most vulnerable people, as they struggle with the burgeoning reality of rising sea levels, floods and drought, warns international development and social justice organisation, Oxfam.

The agency said the deal is a landmark step but has not done enough to ensure that a 3°C world will be avoided or secure sufficient climate funding for vulnerable communities to adapt to increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather. More than 190 countries have for the first time committed to climate action and the summit has created momentum throughout the year, with countries and parts of the business community making announcements toward tackling climate change. But the ambitious speeches from world leaders opening the summit were not sustained.

Oxfam Executive Director, Helen Szoke said: “This deal offers a frayed life-line to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

Only the vague promise of a new future climate funding target has been made, while the deal does not force countries to cut emissions fast enough to forestall a climate change catastrophe. This will only ramp up adaptation costs further in the future.

Governments across the world have now come together in the global fight against climate change but must play catch up. We will be holding them to account with the millions of people who marched in cities all around the world so that dangerous warming is averted and the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities get the support that they need.

Oxfam said it is vital that governments return to the negotiating table before the new agreement takes effect from 2020 to strengthen pledges of emissions cuts and agree to new finance levels. Twin forces of falling renewable energy prices alongside escalating costs of climate change will make this more likely. A growing movement of people will demand it.

The Paris deal recognises more funding is needed for communities to adapt to climate change over the next five years but does not include any concrete steps or numbers to help make this happen. There is only a commitment to set a new collective finance target by 2025 at some point after 2020, and no recognition of the need for a separate target for adaptation finance. Any funding will need to be scaled up significantly if steps to reduce emissions further are not made elsewhere.

By Oxfam’s estimations, the new deal will see developing countries facing adaptation costs of almost $800 billion a year by 2050. Loss and damage has been included as a separate section in the agreement, which is welcome. But the exclusion of liability in the separate decision document remains a concern and needs to be further examined.


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