No Details Yet in Climate Talks

No Details Yet in Climate Talks

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After the first week of UN climate negotiations in Poznan, Poland (the fourteenth Conference of Parties, known as COP 14) it is clear that there is one thing missing from the discussions – the details.

Current UN climate negotiations are moving towards a new global treaty for climate change. ActionAid and many of our partners from around the world insist that the global deal must set steep commitments for developed countries to lower their emissions; that it require them to dedicate new, predictable, and substantial resources to help communities in the developing world adapt to the impacts of climate change; and that it compel rich countries transfer clean technologies to help contain the emission of emerging economies and to assist with sustainable development in poor countries.

Why so much emphasis on transfer of finance and technology from the developed world to the developing world? The answer is simple: the developed world has contributed disproportionately to global warming from unsustainable development based on fossil-fuel technologies. The developing world, on the other hand, has contributed very little to global warming, yet is facing the most severe impacts, including severe floods, droughts, famine, and disease.

Developed countries made clear that they would not commit funds for adaptation at COP 14. There were hopes, however, that at least some of the details on how adaptation would work would begin to be fleshed out at this conference. How will the funding needed for adaptation (estimated at $67 -86 billion a year) be generated? What institution will manage the funding? Who will receive the funding and how will it be used? Very few of these questions have been answered.

There has been some debate about how the funds would be managed, but those talks appear to be at a standstill. The G77 and China, a negotiating block of over 130 developing countries, has put forward a proposal for a new global climate change institution to manage funds for adaptation, mitigation, and clean technology. This proposal is intended to ensure that new funding goes through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and not other institutions such as the World Bank (which many organizations allege has a questionable track record on social and environmental issues). Non-governmental organizations, including ActionAid, have been very supportive of this proposal, and, have put forward their own principles and criteria to govern such a fund.

Unfortunately, many rich countries have insisted that they will not put their money into a new fund. It is unclear how this impasse will get resolved.

The question of who will receive the funding and how will it be used has barely even been raised. Governments in the UN talks generally agree that funding for adaptation must be new, substantial, and predictable. They agree that funding should go to the countries most vulnerable to climate change. But that is as far as the conversation has gone.

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Posted by Ilana Solomon