M A I N   N E W S

Climate change talks tied in knots
Betwa Sharma in Durban

December 2: Talks at the climate change conference have predictably bogged down over funding and over the insistence of the first world countries that emerging economies like India and China also commit to legally binding and higher reduction of carbon emission.

Countries like Japan, Canada, Russia and New Zealand have decided to back out of the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding treaty that requires 37 developed countries to reduce amount of CO2 they released. The European Union has made it clear that it would agree to more carbon reduction only if emerging economies like China and India also undertake some form of binding cuts to bring down their gases that trap heat and make the climate warm.

Government delegates from 194 countries have gathered in Durban to agree to the next steps to combat climate change. The talks have been bogged down by disagreements on the kind of actions that need to be taken by developed and developing nations.

Another area of disagreement is on the design of a Green Climate Fund, which will provide $100 billion a year from 2020 to developing countries to combat climate change. The report of the UN committee on how to set into motion such a fund is now being debated at the talks. The South American nations of Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua (representing the ALBA nations) as well as Saudi Arabia and the U.S have objected to its contents.

There is, however, an overall urgency for the Fund to be adopted at Durban so that money begins to flow. Tomasz Chruszczow, the Polish envoy whose country is currently presiding over the EU, told reporters that the report was a “good compromise.” “In its current form it would attract significant funding,” he said. “We believe it would be counterproductive to undertake technical decisions on the instrument.”

Speaking on behalf of the African Group, Seyni Nafo stressed that money from the Green Fund should not go to the private sector in developed countries. “The resources will be channelled to our countries, to our government, which will then funnel the funds to our private sector to take the actions which are needed,” said Nafo.

The diplomat added that the $100 billion was not enough and the figure should be increased to 600 billion or 1.5 percent of every developed country’s GDP. ‘The 100 billion dollar is a symbolic political number,” Nafo said. “It has nothing to do with science, it has nothing to do with an objective or rational assessment of the needs right now.”

The Africa Group also backed India, which “is doing its fair share in the context of its own challenges,” said Nafo, the spokesperson of the Africa Group to The Tribune. The diplomat from Mali further noted that China was taking the lead in investing in renewable energies that do not pollute the environment.

As large developing economies release more CO2 in the atmosphere due to rapid economic growth in the past decades, it has also led to divisions within the bloc of G77 + China. Both have argued that their overriding priority remains poverty eradication. 





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