It is make or break at the Doha conference as climate talks enter its last few days of negotiations. Interestingly, the conference is happening in a city that has sea on one side and a desert on the other - a division visible even among the 200-odd participating nations.
Both developing and the developed world have kept their cards for the wire when tired negotiators would try to etch a face-saver deal to get time lease to finalise concrete climate proposals at Warsaw in Poland next year.
Doha round of talks now hinge on the issue of finance between 2013 and 2020 with G-77 plus China seeking up-scaping of funds to US $60 billion by 2016 and the developed world treading cautiously citing uncertain economic times back home.
“Nothing less than what the developed world has given in the last three years (2010-2012) would be acceptable,” said Xie Zhenhua, China’s climate head and vice chairman of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), setting the tone for what would be an intense round the clock negotiations.
Zhenhua, who heads the Basic group that also has India, Brazil and South Africa as members, welcomed the seven billion US dollars given by six European countries as climate finance in 2013 and hoped it would push other countries to announce similar commitments, an obligation under the Cancun agreement.
The United States, the biggest carbon emitter, has refused to pledge money before next year citing budgeting constrains and wants it to be deferred for discussion under Durban platform, a working group to frame a new ratifiable climate treaty by 2015. Behind the facade of US hides other big polluters such as Japan and Canada who have also not put any climate money on the table.
While finance holds the key, other elements such as second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol, increasing mitigation ability, copyright free technology transfer and loss and damage are dividing the two worlds --- rich and poor.
An Indian negotiator expected an agreement on Kyoto by tonight and loss and damage falling off the table. He hoped that equity found place in the founding principles of a new climate treaty but was not sure about its nature. "Equity is embedded in climate convention and cannot be ignored,” said a Brazilian negotiator.
From tonight, the discussion would move from officials to political leaders, a hope for striking a "balanced and equitable" deal as sought by Zhenhua.