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Press release

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

Christian Aid verdict on the Katowice climate summit: A C-minus when they needed straight As

- Saudi Arabia’s reform agenda has disappeared like a mirage in the Arabian Desert
- The USA, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait have acted like an axis of evil
- The EU should be embarrassed by the behaviour of this Polish presidency
- Loss and damage was born in Poland in 2013 and almost died here in 2018
- The most hopeful climate stories have come from outside the summit

Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid’s International Climate Lead, said: “The majority of the rulebook for the Paris Agreement has been created, which is something to be thankful for. But the fact countries had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the finish line shows that some nations have not woken up to the urgent call of the IPCC report.
“This was the first opportunity since the IPCC report for countries to prove to the world that they were taking this seriously. They’ve just about scraped a C minus when the scientists of the IPCC showed that they needed to get straight As. Countries such as the USA, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Australia and Brazil have clearly not shown up prepared to do what they said they would. Without more homework nations are not going to solve the climate crisis.
 
On ambition Adow said: “The Paris Agreement pledges only get us to a world of between 2.7 and 3.5C of global heating, far below the Paris goal of 1.5C.  What made the Paris Agreement dynamic was the review and ratchet mechanism.  Without revised national emission reduction plans by 2020 we’re not going to close that gap.  To bend the emissions curve, we now need all countries to deliver these revised plans at the special UN Secretary General summit in 2019.   It’s vital that they do so.

On the blocking of the IPCC 1.5C science report: “I had hoped Saudi Arabia was undergoing a reform agenda that would see it become a responsible member of the global community.  But that has vanished like a mirage in the Arabian Desert. By refusing to welcome the IPCC report they have confirmed their rogue nation status. 
“Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kuwait and the USA acted like an axis of evil against the other 193 countries in opposition to the common good of the world.”
 
On loss and damage: “For a while it looked like loss and damage, which came to life in Poland at the Warsaw summit in 2013 would be killed in Poland five years later.  Thankfully countries came to their senses and recognised that for the most vulnerable nations it will be impossible to merely adapt to a climate distorted world. They will need much more help.”
 
On finance: “Financial support to poorer countries was always going to be the elephant in the room. But these developing countries weren’t demanding finance now, they wanted rules which showed that the needed finance to help them track and reduce their emissions, would come when promised.  It was always a question of rules for rules.  It’s good that some of this predictability has been achieved. But rich countries have been allowed to count almost anything and everything as climate finance, including commercial loans. This puts into question the sincerity of the $100bn pledge for poor countries.”
 
On the Polish presidency: “This was a horribly run summit by the Poles who have now hogged the hosting rights three consecutive times it has come to Eastern Europe.  Whether it was the perversity of using the meeting as a coal trade fair, harsh treatment of civil society members or a lack of interest in an ambitious outcome, it will not be remembered fondly.  The EU should be ashamed of itself that a member country was allowed to twist a UN summit to its own agenda.  It’s vital that the world ensures the next time the meeting is held in Eastern Europe another country is chosen to preside over the talks.
 
On Article 6/carbon markets: “It’s great that the world has stood up against Brazil and avoided allowing loopholes and double counting into outcome here in Katowice. But they have punted the decision into next year, so we will continue to call for the environmental integrity of the Paris Agreement in Chile.
 
Real hope is found in the real world
“To be honest, the most hopeful stories about climate change over the past two weeks have been from outside the walls of the summit. School children striking for their future, grass roots movements mobilising and even the world’s biggest shipping firm, Maersk, announcing it will go net zero emissions by 2050. The global transition is under way and cannot be stopped.  The question is will governments help it go fast enough to help the world’s poorest on the front lines of climate change.”
 
Ends