Recent decisions by the governments of Australia, Japan and Canada to downgrade their efforts over climate change have caused panic among developing nations who fear others will follow soon.
Developing nations have launched an impassioned attack on the failure of the world’s richest countries to live up to their climate change pledges in the wake of the disaster in the Philippines.
With more than 3,600 people now believed to have been killed by Typhoon Haiyan, moves by several major economies to backtrack on commitments over carbon emissions have put the world’s poorest and most wealthy states on a collision course, on the eve of crucial high-level talks at a summit of world powers.
Yeb Sano, the Philippines’ lead negotiator at the UN climate change summit being held this weekend in Warsaw, spoke of a major breakdown in relations overshadowing the crucial talks, which are due to pave the way for a 2015 deal to bring down global emissions.
The diplomat, on the sixth day of a hunger strike in solidarity for those affected by Haiyan, including his own family, told the Observer: “We are very concerned. Public announcements from some countries about lowering targets are not conducive to building trust. We must acknowledge the new climate reality and put forward a new system to help us manage the risks and deal with the losses to which we cannot adjust.”
Munjurul Hannan Khan, representing the world’s 47 least affluent countries, said: “They are behaving irrationally and unacceptably. The way they are talking to the most vulnerable countries is not acceptable. Today the poor are suffering from climate change. But tomorrow the rich countries will be. It starts with us but it goes to them.”
Recent decisions by the governments of Australia, Japan and Canada to downgrade their efforts over climate change have caused panic among those states most affected by global warming, who fear others will follow as they rearrange their priorities during the downturn.