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Warsaw COP likely to end without clarity on targets

world Updated: Nov 23, 2013 02:07 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

Even as ministers and delegates worked almost round the clock on Friday “to bring some momentum to climate talks” to thrash out a road map for new agreement, there was no clarity on what Warsaw would deliver – especially on the climate finance aspect.

Since November 11, representatives of 194 countries – joined by ministers since Wednesday - have been working out a new treaty to be signed two years later. Two weeks ago, the negotiators had started work for arriving at a framework for a deal to be signed at Paris in 2015 that would aim to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by industrialised countries and big emitters reducing emission targets beyond 2020 and also by agreeing to help poor countries financially to fight climate change impacts.

However, when the Conference of Parties (COP19) is scheduled to officially end, there is still no positive indication on many fronts and the discussions are likely to spill over to the weekend.

“We are still talking, still negotiating,” an Indian negotiator told HT.

For the first time though, the countries are discussing a scenario – it is still at the draft stage – where the text would be the same for all when it comes to signing a new treaty at Paris in 2015.

“The draft text has universal participation. For the first time, the text is same for everyone but the principles are not the same for all,” said Beata Jaczewska, head of the Polish delegation.

Which essentially means, unlike the earlier climate change treaties where only the developed countries were legally bound to reduce emissions, it would now be for all Parties to pledge emission reductions. But it is still a draft, she warned.

She claimed the three aspects – ADP (Ad Hoc working group on the Durban platform for enhanced action), long term finance and loss and damage – are still open and the discussions are still going on.

There was closure on mechanism for ‘reduced emission from deforestation and forest degradation’ and the climate technology centre and network. Also, pledges amounting to USD 100 million were collected from several countries for the adaptation fund.

Todd Stern, the chief negotiator of the United States, said: “Creation of some kind of loss and damage mechanism has emerged as a central issue. Mitigation and adaptation are two central pillars of the climate talks but we are not looking at loss and damage mechanism as the third pillar.”

It is exactly in this context that the rich countries are under increasing pressure for “blocking” loss and damage mechanism. “Backtracking on climate pollution caps and the breaking of promises on climate finance are undermining the talks,” warned Meena Raman of the Malaysia-based NGO Third World Network.
Martin Khor, executive director, South Centre, said, It is essential that the climate finance is new and additional to existing aid.”

Given the fact that adaptation fund is under financed, the activists are pointing out there is no logic in coming up with additional funds going in as part of the same kitty.

An observer said on conditions of anonymity, none of the developed countries are ready to commit on open ended compensations – vis-à-vis finance to fight climate change impacts (with respect to climate finance). Änd in case of the US, the reluctance can be also attributed to the fact that is has to annually seek vote from the Congress, which has a veto over the President’s plan. Moreover, it is likely that the US will not commit anything before mid-2015, as it has to face elections before that.”