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Cautious optimism greets UN Geneva climate talks upshot

The UN climate talks in Geneva, Switzerland, closed on Friday, February 13, 2015 with an air of optimism having made progress towards a new agreement that is due to be signed in Paris at the end of the year. According to the Climate Action Network (CAN), the draft agreement seems on track to signal an end to fossil fuel emissions with both Jamaica and Switzerland adding their voices to the idea of a long term goal.

Julie-Anne Richards, Manager International Policy, Climate Justice Programme. Photo credit: Irene Quaile, www.dw.de

Julie-Anne Richards, Manager International Policy, Climate Justice Programme. Photo credit: Irene Quaile, www.dw.de

Some members of CAN have, however, been weighing the implications of the outcome of the weeklong forum.

Julie-Anne Richards, Manager International Policy, Climate Justice Programme, stated: “It’s good news countries have given a stamp of approval for a new draft version of the climate agreement that will be the basis of negotiations through the year and that it features a wide range of options to deal with mitigation and to provide support to help developing countries prepare for climate impacts including a loss and damage mechanism.

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“There’s been a seachange in the dynamics in Geneva, thanks to the open and consultative approach of the Co-Chairs. Countries also came ready and willing to work.  The spirit of Geneva needs to be kept alive, as we move to on to deal with crunch issues like the need to scale up financial support for action and how to treat richer and poorer countries fairly, and loss and damage – which has the potential to be a make or break issue for Paris.”

Tasneem Essop, WWF head of delegation to the UNFCCC. Photo credit: unfccc.int

Tasneem Essop, WWF head of delegation to the UNFCCC. Photo credit: unfccc.int

Tasneem Essop, WWF head of delegation to the UNFCCC, submitted: “All eyes must be on political leaders now, as they are the single most important influence that will shape the final outcome of a new global climate deal in Paris later this year.

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“There are important political moments outside of the UN climate negotiation process – at both ministerial and Heads of State level – on the road to Paris where they can demonstrate their intentions, such as the G7, the G20 meetings, and the SDG Summit.

“The first test of political will and influence inside the negotiating process will come in the period from March to June when countries announce their plans to reduce emissions and, we hope, provide financial resources for the post-2020 period.”

Jamie Henn, Strategy and Communications Director, 350.org

Jamie Henn, Strategy and Communications Director, 350.org

Jamie Henn, Strategy and Communications Director, 350.org, disclosed: “As the talks here in Geneva come to a close, people around the world are taking part in Global Divestment Day, a worldwide effort to move money out of the fossil fuel industry and into a clean energy future.

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“That’s what these negotiations need to do, as well: send a clear signal to investors that the age of fossil fuels is coming to an end.”

The CAN is calling for a complete phase out of fossil fuel emissions and the phase in of 100% renewable energy by 2050 with sustainable energy access for all.

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