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UN Climate Change meet makes little progress
November 23, 2013, 2:47 am

Protesters wearing masks of the leaders of the wealthiest countries have criticised the lack of progress at the UNFCCC [Xinhua]

Protesters wearing masks of the leaders of the wealthiest countries have criticised the lack of progress at the UNFCCC [Xinhua]

Despite a growing divide between wealthy and developing countries over compensation for loss and damage associated with climate change, negotiators at the 19th United Nations Framework on Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) in Warsaw, Poland say they are determined to reach a working agreement.

Talks lasted well into the night Friday and extended into Saturday as delegates from over 190 countries continue to wrangle on a timetable for developing countries to begin cutting back on harmful carbon emissions.

“It is indeed one sleepless night in front of us but we are still hoping to close the meeting as soon as possible,” Beata Jaczewska, the deputy environment minister from Poland, the host country, told reporters late Friday.

A further stumbling block has been how much wealthy nations are willing to contribute to a fund which compensates developing nations and vulnerable islands for the negative effects of climate change – floods, tsunamis, super typhoons, earthquakes, etc.

An already tense mood which had settled on the two-week talks was exacerbated when developing nations and the EU exchanged blame for the delay in reaching an agreement.

On Friday, EU’s climate chief, Connie Hedegaard blamed some developing countries for throwing the talks into crisis.

Representatives of some of the 133 countries, known as the G77 + China, who had walked out on talks Wednesday, charged that Hedegaard had damaged trust between nations in the talks.

The talks were initially designed by UN organisers to push industrialised nations, emerging economies and developing countries to move toward a global climate change agreement that sufficiently reduces carbon emissions to offset increase in the Earth’s temperature by the end of the century.

A crucial component is increasing the financing for developing nations to work toward effecting environment-friendly policies; addresses issues of loss and damage as a result of any policy change.

These, the UN hoped, would create a road map that will see a concrete agenda by 2015, which will be implemented in 2020.

The US and other developed countries like Japan, Canada, and Australia wanted larger emerging countries, such as China, to commit to lower carbon emission targets and contribute to the loss and damage fund.

Earlier in the week, Indian Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan and Chinese delegation head Xie Zhenhua told a news briefing Thursday that they wanted to first see details of the developed nations’ mitigation pledges.

“We would like to know where we stand,” Natarajan said

“They [developed nations] need to fulfill these commitments. They have to provide a timetable and also the size of their contribution. They should have a very clear signal to society,” Xie added.

But there was little progress to show for the talks – developed countries agreed to ‘accept’ the concept of loss and damage (L&D) which had been raised by the G77 + China. Some developing countries hope L&D will be adopted to the agenda at the next UN conference in Lima, Peru.

There has also been momentum on increasing funds to prevent global deforestation. The US joined a number of developing nations to pledge a total of $280 million as incentives to help poorer nations combat deforestation.

Source: Agencies