WWF slams draft climate agreement

2012-06-20 08:00
The WWF used this balloon at the Rio climate conference to get their message across. (WWF)

The WWF used this balloon at the Rio climate conference to get their message across. (WWF)

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Cape Town - The World Wide Fund for Nature has slammed the revised negotiating text for the Rio+20 climate conference, saying that leaders should be "embarrassed".

"Despite a late night negotiating session, the revised text is a colossal failure of leadership and vision from diplomats. They should be embarrassed at their inability to find common ground on such a crucial issue," said the WWF's director general, Jim Leape.

Delegates at the global climate forum in Brazil begin negotiations in earnest on Wednesday in a bid to create a binding agreement similar to the Kyoto Protocol that limits greenhouse gas emissions and to finalise details of a proposed $100bn climate fund to help developing nations mitigate the effects of climate change.

But the conference has already been dogged by accusations from environmentalists that it is not going far enough and the wording is too vague to force nations to commit.

"'Encourage' is used approximately 50 times, while the word 'must' is used three times. Apparently, negotiators really like the word 'support' - they used it approximately 99 times - but can't bear to use language like 'we will', which appears only five times," said WWF head of delegation Lasse Gustavsson.


Late on Tuesday, negotiators finalised the draft agreement that will be submitted to heads of government as they deliberate climate goals, but key leaders like US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minster David Cameron will be absent from the conference in Rio De Janeiro.

"We were offered a common vision of inaction and destruction. There's absolutely nothing there for people and the planet," said Daniel Mittler, political director of Greenpeace International, following the deal on the draft.

The EU is pressing for tougher action of global climate commitments, but the US and China do not agree on how much economies should limit their carbon footprint.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called on the heads of the 115 countries present in Rio to commit to serious climate negotiations.

But the WWF slammed the focus on what it labelled "toothless language".

"While some weak words have been removed, diplomats have swapped them with toothless language. This includes tongue twisters like 'commit to the progressive realisation' and several promises to 'recognise' problems and solutions.

"They've added some positive actions around oceans protection. But, the text has lots of words that 'commit' parties to nothing - such as 'commit to promote' and 'commit to systematically consider'," said Leape.

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Read more on:    wwf  |  climate change  |  rio climate conference

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