Poor Countries Walk Out Of UN Climate Summit

November 20, 2013

(THEGWPF.ORG) Representatives of most of the world’s poor countries have walked out of increasingly fractious climate negotiations after the EU, Australia, the US and other developed countries insisted that the question of who should pay compensation for extreme climate events be discussed only after 2015.

by Dr. Benny Peiser

The orchestrated move by the G77 and China bloc of 132 countries came during talks about “loss and damage” – how countries should respond to climate impacts that are difficult or impossible to adapt to, such as typhoon Haiyan. –John Vidal, The Guardian, 20 November 2013

“The EU understands that the issue is incredibly important for developing countries. But they should be careful about … creating a new institution. This is not [what] this process needs,” said Connie Hedegaard, EU climate commissioner. She ruled out their most important demand, insisting: “We cannot have a system where we have automatic compensation when severe events happen around the world. That is not feasible.” –John Vidal, The Guardian, 20 November 2013

The devastation wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan has become a rallying cry at UN climate talks, where the Philippines and other developing nations are demanding aid guarantees for future damage from global warming. The demand has created another deep fault line in the divided negotiations, for rich nations see it as a potential trap, locking them into a never-ending liability for compensation. More than 130 developing states are now calling for an international “loss and damage” mechanism, bankrolled by wealthy nations, to be embedded in a 2015 global pact on climate change. —Agence France Press, 20 November 2013

Africa faces costs to adapt to the effects of climate change that will rise to $350 billion a year by the 2070s if governments fail to rein in runaway emissions, according to a report today from the UN Environment Program. The costs of adapting Africa’s infrastructure to the rising seas and stronger storms caused by global warming will likely total $7 billion to $15 billion by 2020 and “rise rapidly” thereafter because of ever-higher temperatures, UNEP said today in a report released at UN climate talks in Warsaw. –Alex Morales, Bloomberg 20 November 2013

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The proposal, advanced by the G77 plus China, that the US and other nations should pay tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars to poor countries that suffer disasters, is a central theme of the climate negotiations now taking place in Warsaw, Poland. Yet partial responsibility for the emergence of a debate on historical reparations lies squarely with President Obama. Despite the scientific evidence to the contrary, President Obama declared in his 2013 State of the Union Address that “Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods – all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen, were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science.” –Roger Pielke Jr., The Guardian, 19 November 2013

Long drawn arguments through two days of almost continuous negotiations broke out over the key decisions that the Warsaw meeting would make. A draft of the decisions brought out on Monday became the new battleground as developed countries tried to remove any difference in the responsibility thrust upon the developing countries from that of the rich nations. –Nitin Sethi, The Hindu, 20 November 2013

20% of the EU’s budget will go towards fighting climate change, climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard announced in Warsaw today. This equates to €180 billion on climate spending between 2014 and 2020. Much of this will be spent on domestic projects, helping with the development of climate-smart agriculture, energy efficiency and the transport sector. Speaking at a press conference in Warsaw today, EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said that if the world is successfully going to tackle climate change “one of the things we need is to change is the whole economic paradigm, including the way we construct our budgets.” She added that Europe is the first region to construct its budget in this way. –Sophie Yeo, Responding to Climate Change, 20 November 2013

Poland’s prime minister Donald Tusk dismissed environment minister Marcin Korolec on Wednesday as part of a government reshuffle. Korolec will be replaced by Maciej Grabowski, former deputy finance minister responsible for preparing shale gas taxation. “It is about radical acceleration of shale gas operations. Mr Korolec will remain the government’s plenipotentiary for the climate negotiations,” Tusk told a news conference. His dismissal raised questions over Poland’s position in the negotiations. —Reuters, 20 November 2013

 

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