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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 5 April, 2020

Alan Kelly thinks a new UN climate deal is a good one, but Mary Robinson doesn't agree

Critics say the deal doesn’t go far enough for poor countries.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE ENVIRONMENT MINISTER has hailed anew UN deal on climate change, but former President Mary Robinson has said that it doesn’t give confidence to the world.

A deal was reached in the Peruvian capital Lima overnight on a deal on climate change. The agreement — dubbed the Lima Call for Climate Action — sets down the foundations for what is envisioned as the most ambitious agreement in environmental history.

Sealed in Paris in 2015 and taking effect by 2020, it would for the first time bind all the nations of the world into a single arena for curbing heat-trapping carbon gases that drive dangerous climate change.

Its aim is to limit global warming to no more than two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels, averting what could be potentially catastrophic damage to Earth’s climate system by the turn of the century.

However, despite being called a “significant step” by Environment Minister Alan Kelly, it has attracted criticism.

The UN Special Envoy on Climate Change and former Irish President Mary Robinson said the deal barely kept talks alive.

Not enough was done by countries who can afford to wait. The leaders of countries whose people are suffering now, who are most at risk and have least resources to mobilise for protection compromised the most. Because they can’t afford to wait – they are negotiating for lives.

“If we urgently and decisively put the rights of vulnerable people, including women, at the centre of our climate work we can make a breakthrough. As Professor John Knox, UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment reminded us earlier this week, “States do not leave behind their human rights commitments when they negotiate a climate agreement.”

“We took small steps in Lima. We need to take big steps in 2015.”

Ciara Kirrane of Irish group Stop Climate Chaos said the deal did not go far enough for the world’s poorest people.

“As well as failing to ensure developed countries contribute the necessary financial and technological resources to developing countries to help them cope with climate impacts, the agreement also fails us all given the scale of the climate crisis.

“The science on climate change is irrefutable but the Lima Accord does not put us on a pathway to keep global temperatures below 2°C, a threshold beyond which dangerous climate impacts are expected.”

Read: China and the US agreed a climate deal – here’s why it matters

Read: Here’s why cold weather doesn’t mean global warming isn’t real

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