Climate Update #4: Tension high in Warsaw talks as G77+China walk out vs climate inaction

 By Tetet Nera-Lauron, 21 November, 2013. Source: IBON International

Tensions and tempers run high with only two days left at the 19th Conference of Parties (COP 19) and tremendous pressure for the annual climate summit to deliver substantive outcomes.

Members of the G77+China, a group of 133 developing countries have walked out of the negotiations on ‘loss and damage’ at dawn today, amidst growing frustration at the intransigence of the EU, Australia, Canada, US and other developed countries on the issue of who should pay compensation for the effects of extreme climate events. The developed countries insist that this issue be addressed only after 2015.

An international mechanism on loss and damage will help countries address the impacts of extreme events—such as super typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines almost two weeks ago—the enormity of which would make it difficult for them to adapt to.

Representatives from the G77+China bloc said that they have been very flexible in order to reach an acceptable outcome, and up until the wee hours of the morning, there was some progress in the negotiations. Australia then made a motion to put all the agreements in brackets, again putting everything on hold. At this point, the G77+China decided that it was time for the ministers attending the 19th Conference of Parties (COP 19) to make a political decision.

Mr. Marcin Korolec, Poland’s Environment Minister and COP 19 President, immediately sought an audience with key actors in the G77+China group, to help diffuse tensions and seek a productive way forward to the negotiations. Negotiations on loss and damage have resumed tonight, and is expected to make some progress after the impasse.

The high level segment of the internationalclimate talks has also gone full swing with two ministerial dialogues on the COP/CMP and on climate finance.

The Philippines’ Climate Change Minister Lucille Sering made an impassioned speech at the COP/CMP plenary session, stressing that almost two decades after the UN Climate Change talks began, there is still lack of progress in developing global actions against climate change.
“Every time we attend this conference, I am beginning to feel like we are negotiating on who is to live and who is to die. Would it be right for me to conclude that we failed miserably?” she said.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, speaking at the Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Finance, stressed on the need for ‘bolder’ targets to scale up climate finance and to ‘break down all barriers’ to achieve the large scale transformation necessary to keep below 2 degrees Celsius global temperature rise.

The Green Climate Fund, the operating entity of the UN Climate Convention, remains an empty shell, with very conservative pledges made by developed countries, but without actual commitments given towards its capitalization and operationalization.

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