As the Phillipines deals with the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan, WWF Cymru says it’s crucial that the world listens to delegates such as Welsh Minister Alun Davies, who have committed to take serious action on climate change, at this week’s climate summit in Poland.
As Wales’ Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Mr Davies will be representing Wales in the UK Delegation at the COP19 conference on Thursday and Friday.
The meeting of representatives from nearly 200 countries is a vital step towards securing a global deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions when international leaders meet in Paris in 2015.
WWF Cymru hopes the talks will pave the way to international agreements which help Wales shift to low carbon policies such as renewable energy and a green economy.
WWF Cymru’s Policy Officer, Jessica McQuade, said: “Our colleagues in the Philippines witnessed first-hand the devastation wreaked by Super Typhoon Haiyan. This tragedy should act as a wake-up call and focus minds at the climate talks in Poland. The IPCC report made clear that we are more likely to experience more severe weather events if we do not tackle climate change. We need to see a response from the delegates in Warsaw to match that of the overwhelming response of the public to this devastating tragedy.
“We’re pleased that Alun Davies and Welsh Government take the latest IPCC science very seriously and are committed to cutting emissions. The Minister can set an example on the international stage with Wales’ ambitious targets, which fit with what the scientists tell us we need to do. Voices such as his – supporting strong ambition at an EU level and defending us against governments trying to weaken our commitments, whether at home or abroad – are very important”.
“We have to have a global deal to reduce CO2 emissions within this decade to ensure we do not end up with dangerous climate change – above 2 Celsius. These talks should pave the way for a new and effective global agreement to be made in Paris 2015, replacing the Kyoto Protocol”.
Wales has one of the more ambitious climate change reduction targets in the world. All parties in the National Assembly support the aim of reducing our emissions by 40% by 2020, based on 1990 levels.
The 40% target needs both UK and Welsh governments to act because a large proportion of emissions come from sectors such as energy, which means key decisions are made in Westminster, not Cardiff.
Next month Welsh Government is due to reveal progress on its Climate Change Strategy.
The latest data suggests that Wales is just over half way towards its 40% reduction target.
Jessica McQuade added: “Although Wales faces challenges in trying to meet its climate targets, it is critical that Welsh Government delivers on its promises, both in terms of cutting its own emissions and setting a good example to other countries.
“At the moment, we are doing quite well in Wales in terms of cutting our emissions in line with our targets. But it’s likely this is largely to do with effects of the recession rather than government policy and so we will need to ramp up action over the next few years.
“Greening Wales’ economy is crucial, so we need to see the Minister developing the ‘green growth’ approach he’s been talking about recently – this would be a really positive step in the right direction.”
WWF is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, creating solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature thrive. Find out more about our work, past and present at wwf.org.uk.