Friday, October 23, 2015

Climate Change and the Small Change

It’s always about money. Negotiators presently meeting in Germany to clarify their positions before the Paris conference that aims to seal a new binding treaty say that questions over cash are the biggest barrier to a new global climate deal. Developing country delegates said clear guarantees on finance must be a core part of that eventual agreement. Climate change for poorer nations has far greater consequences and is often a matter of life and death.

Developing countries point out that while they had done least to create the problems associated with more carbon in the atmosphere, they were the ones already feeling the greater impacts of a warming world. They seek finance to help them curb their emissions and to cope with the storms and droughts expected to be more common in a changing climate.

Ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko of South Africa said that the question of finance was the most crucial issue for any new agreement. "Whether Paris succeeds or not will depend on what we have as part of the core agreement on finance," she told reporters. Ambassador Diseko also accused the richer nations of dirty tricks, saying they were keen to exclude observers from civil society groups because they wanted to pass off overseas development aid (ODA) as climate finance. 

Representatives of indigenous, women's and environment groups and trade unions called for a reversal of a decision to exclude them from discussions on a global climate change deal due to be agreed in Paris in December. Protesters from green groups and development charities picketed the conference centre in Bonn, wearing blindfolds to symbolise their exclusion, and holding up signs saying "Keep us in the room". More than 125 NGOs released a statement deploring the decision to exclude them, describing it as "undemocratic, untransparent and unacceptable". "It reflects a process by which the voices of those most impacted by - and least responsible for - climate change are silenced," they said.
"It is my understanding that this should be an open forum where everything happens in a transparent setting because there is nothing to be hidden," said Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, a delegate for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mali's lead negotiator Seyni Nafo, the spokesperson for African states at the talks, said he would urge developing nations to break off the negotiations if observers were not allowed to monitor the discussions. 

Christian Aid’s Senior Climate Advisor, Mohamed Adow, said: “Rich countries are shirking their responsibility to provide climate finance and have watered down the text. They are undermining the right of poor developing countries to receive support they need to adapt and develop in a clean manner.”

Developed countries are wary about including a provision on loss and damage in the Paris agreement, as they feel it will make them legally responsible for storm damage and rising seas in many parts of the world.
"It is deeply concerning for us when we hear the calls not to include this issue in the discussions," said Juan Hoffmaister from Bolivia. "Because at this stage with the science and the knowledge we have available, to talk about not having loss and damage is the equivalent to climate denial."

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