Mary Robinson: G20 "Could Break Deadlock" in Climate Talks

Former Irish President Mary Robinson has called on G-20 leaders to prioritize climate change in their talks at Cannes, France.

In her opinion piece for the Guardian on Nov. 3, Robinson, also a former U.N. high commissioner for human rights, cited the current Horn of Africa famine and the Asian flooding as two examples of humanitarian crises caused by extreme weather associated with climate change.

“It is rich countries whose emissions are overwhelmingly responsible for climate change,” Robinson wrote. “They have promised $100bn annually to help poor countries cope and to reduce their own emissions. But the fund agreed last year in Cancún has yet to be activated and no deal has been done to scale-up finance to those levels.”

Robinson acknowledged that the G-20 should be responsible for coming up with a climate deal, which is a task for the United Nations. But she believed the group “could break the deadlock” in the climate negotiations, with the help of Bill Gates’ proposals on carbon emissions and financial transaction taxes.

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“G20 leaders in Cannes have the opportunity to address their people’s concerns, help poor countries caught in a crisis they did nothing to cause, and take timely steps to address the coming climate crisis. It is a chance that must not pass them by,” Robinson concluded.

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About the author

  • Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.