Saudi Arabia blocks climate change from UN poverty goals

From Responding to Climate Change:

By John Parnell
26 April 2013

Saudi Arabia is leading calls for climate change to be omitted from the UN’s 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

At an SDG meeting in New York last week attended by over 70 nations the Saudis, together with fellow oil producers Venezuela and the UAE called for discussions of climate change to be separated from those on energy.

The three nations feature in the top seven of proven oil reserves worldwide, and have opposed targets to encourage clean energy over fossil fuels, despite evidence that climate change will exacerbate global hunger and poverty.

“Saudi Arabia don’t want climate change in the same session yet alone the same day as energy. They don’t really want it in there at all,” Stakeholder Forum’s Farooq Ullah, who attended the meeting, told RTCC.

“They oppose climate and energy being associated with one another and say energy [targets] should only deal with energy access, which clearly indicates they don’t want to set goals around the sustainability of the source of energy,” he added.

The SDGs were established at the Rio+20 summit and are set to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which end in 2015.

Their main objective is poverty alleviation but the focus on sustainability could add momentum to climate-friendly development at a time when countries are starting negotiations over a legally binding emissions deal also set to be agreed in 2015.

“Climate change is going to be a struggle in the SDGs in general because of the UNFCCC, the UN’s climate change body,” said Ullah.

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