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13 DEC 2015

World’s poor wait in anticipation for next steps after climate change summit reaches deal in Paris

On 12 December, more than 190 countries committed to climate action for the first time. The summit has also created momentum throughout the year, with countries and parts of the business community making announcements toward tackling climate change.

Oxfam's COP21 spokesperson Helen Szoke said, ‘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.

‘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.’ By Oxfam’s estimations, the new deal will see developing countries facing adaptation costs of almost US$800bn a year by 2050.

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.

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. Efforts to include human rights and to ensure women, who are most affected by climate change, would get support against climate change were mentioned but dropped from the core agreement.

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.

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Oxfam is a worldwide development organisation that mobilises the power of people against poverty.

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