Rich nations try to divide poor in Paris climate talks

  • Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 08, 2015 00:41 IST
US President Barack Obama, right, meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the COP21 in Paris. The US and the EU have claimed that the least developed and island nations were on their side when it came to expanding the donor base fro climate finance. (AP Photo)

As the 14 facilitators entered closed rooms to find final resolution with ministers on critical finance and differentiation issues, the divide between the developed and the developing world came out in open.

European Union and United States upped the ante against the advanced developing world such as India and China claiming that the least developed and island nations were on its side on expanding donor base for climate finance and more “robust” review mechanism for climate action plans.

The biggest group of G-77 and China hit back saying that the developed countries need to fulfil their commitment on climate finance before putting new conditions on climate finance (read expanding donor group).

Indian environment minister Prakash Javadekar took a more balancing line with a Bollywood touch as he said “jo vaada kiya woh nibhana padaga (will have to keep the promise)” to drive his point that an agreement in Paris will not be possible without adequate finance from the rich nations on the table.

The US and Europe are trying to use expansion of donor base and climate finance only for poorest of the poor countries to create a wedge among the developing countries saying it will result in more money for them. Todd Stern repeatedly said at a press conference on Monday that the island and least developed nations were agreeable to the idea.

Sources said the developing world has not bought the idea knowing well that it was being proposed to reduce the financial commitment of the rich nations, post 2020. “We can talk on expanding the pool once rich nations commit year-wise ratcheting the public finance,” a developing country negotiator said.

What has baffled the developing world is that the US and Europe were resisting to retain the 1992 differentiation between developed and developing world without looking at the realities of poor nations.

Also, there is dispute over how differentiation should be ensured in all elements of the Paris agreement. While for US and Europe it means more action for developing countries, the developing world believes that it should amount to more ambition from the rich nations.

Javedkar also made it clear that India will not agree to the demand of US and Europe to enhance their climate action plans after a review in 2025 saying the commitment is for 2030 by then the review of action plans should be done.

By Monday evening, the civil society representing the developing world described US and Europe as blocker of Paris talks with their “stubborn” approach. “From last night’s negotiations it appears that EU is more of the hardliner than US on increase climate finance and other issues,” said Celine Charveriat of international NGO Oxfam.

However, the US and the Europe are not on the same page on a binding agreement with European climate commissioner saying the issue was being discussed.

The US has opposed making mitigation targets (very low 26-28% by 2030 from 2005 level) as binding citing its domestic politics. The EU appears to have softened its stand on this after a week of negotiations.

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