WWF condemns Japan, Australia and Canada for undermining progress at climate talks

Yokohama harbour, Japan. © Michel Gunther / WWF-Canon

Warsaw, Poland: Commenting at the end of the first week of the UN climate talks in Warsaw, WWF condemned Japan, Australia and Canada for undermining progress and creating uncertainty at COP 19.

On Friday, the Japanese Government announced that it was weakening its emissions targets. Australia has signalled a possible weakening of Australia's target range and started a repeal of its domestic carbon price and Canada issued a statement from the office of Premier Harper this week, applauding Australia for ending its carbon tax and encouraging other countries to follow suit.

Commenting, Tasneem Essop, WWF's head of delegation at COP19, said: "This week our colleagues in the Philippines witnessed first-hand the devastation wreaked by Super Typhoon Haiyan. They are in no doubt that they are experiencing the effects of climate change right now.

"This makes the actions of Japan, Australia and Canada at these talks all the more difficult to comprehend. There is a fundamental disconnect between the reality of climate change and the attitudes of these counties. They must be held to account to explain their actions."

On Japan, Naoyuki Yamagishi, leader of the climate and energy group at WWF Japan, said: "Japan wasted precious two years of discussion since the earthquake and nuclear accident by coming up such a low target. Although the government is trying to make it look like an ambitious one, the fact remains: it is an increased target compared to 1990 and a significant rollback even from Kyoto. The government has to come back with a truly ambitious target, without relying on nuclear."

David Miller, president and CEO, WWF-Canada said: "At a time the world needs a plan to combat climate change the most, Canada celebrates inaction and mocks international efforts. Applauding Australia's backwards steps to repeal its carbon price, when Canada is so far off its own targets, undermines the critical opportunity to advance action. Canada's unwillingness to take even the most basic steps to close its emissions gap is a national embarrassment on this global stage."

Kellie Caught, national climate change manager at WWF- Australia, said: "Comments by Australia's Prime Minister at the of beginning this week signalling a weakening of Australia's target range and a raising of the bar to agree to stronger targets, coupled with the repeal of its domestic carbon price, has added to the despair at these talks.

"In the wake of the destructive Super Typhon in Malaysia, one of Australia's neighbours, it's important that Australia clarifies its position at these talks and demonstrates it willingness to step up and do its fair share."

For further information:

Mandy Woods
Head of Communications
WWF Global Climate & Energy Initiative
+48 515 289 239

George Smeeton
Media Relations Manager
+44 (0)7917 052 948

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