Be decisive, civil society organisations urge ministers

By Mantoe Phakathi in Paris, France

* Africa Green Media

Full text: 

By Mantoe Phakathi in Paris, France

Paris, France: As the climate talks enter their final and crucial week, with ministers of environments getting into the negotiations, civil society organisations are demanding decisive action as they scrutinize the draft text of the Paris outcome.

“The fight for 1.5°C that has re-emerged here in Paris is critically important because it emphasizes how urgent this crisis is for millions of vulnerable people across the planet,” said 350.org executive director, May Boeve.

Although the twenty-first session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) started on a high note with about 150 world leaders descending to the conference venue, Le Bourget, the dirty work is just beginning. A decision that is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and help developing countries adapt to the impact of climate change is expected by the end of the week. But the talks are getting tougher as delegates following on the sidelines are going through the draft text.

Boeve said, just this week, the world has seen the dangers that come with only 1°C of warming; the flooding across India that has left hundreds dead and  deluges that have put parts of the United Kingdom underwater.

“Scientists are clear that in order to meet that target, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere must be brought back below 350 parts per million,” said Boeve. “That means nearly all fossil fuels must be kept in the ground and the transition to 100 percent renewable energy needs to be a sprint, not a marathon.”

Mohamed Adow from Christian Aid said liked this stage of the proceedings, to teenagers going to the school prom.

“Negotiators have driven their countries to the dance,” he told a press conference today. “We now need ministers to stop flirting with each other and seal the deal.”

Calling for an outcome that would put to an end the use of fossil fuels was Martin Kaiser from Greenpeace.

What we can’t do is wait for the first review or stock-take to happen in 2024 or 2025, because that will set in stone the current pledges”, said Kaiser. “And we know that they are no-where near tough enough to deliver 2C, let alone the 1.5C which the most vulnerable countries want.”

Follow Mantoe on Twitter at  @MantoeP for COP21 updates