Cash row chokes United Nations climate talks

December 5, 2015 5:12 am


artist Olafur Eliasson’s ice block sculpture Ice Watch is a temporary
exhibit for the conference in Paris. Photo / AP

Angry developing nations have warned that increasingly tense United
Nations talks aimed at averting catastrophic climate change will fail
unless a bitter feud over hundreds of billions of dollars is resolved.
from 195 nations are haggling in Paris over a planned universal accord
to slash greenhouse-gas emissions that trap the Sun’s heat, warming the
Earth’s surface and oceans and disrupting its delicate climate system.
effect from 2020, the pact would target emissions from fossil fuels
such as coal, oil and gas – the backbone of the world’s energy supply
today – as well as from the cutting down of rainforests.
question of finance to help developing countries make the shift to
cleaner energy sources is “make or break”, said South African negotiator
Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko, who spoke on behalf of the G77 group of 134
developing and emerging countries, plus China.

“It has to be clearly understood that finance is critical,” she told a conference.
At stake is hundreds of billions of dollars that would need to start flowing from rich to developing nations from 2020.
However, the developed nations have yet to fully commit to the financing deal.
frustrations at the conference mounting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki
Moon called on the world’s leading economies to honour the financing
pledge they made at the last major climate summit six years ago.
have been urging the developed world leaders that this must be
delivered,” Ban said at UN headquarters in New York. “This is one very
important promise.”
He said of the US$100 billion ($150 billion) to be mobilised by 2020, US$62 billion has been raised so far.
than 150 world leaders including President Barack Obama launched the
talks on Monday, seeking to build momentum for the tough negotiations
ahead with lofty rhetoric about the urgency of the task. But after three
days of grinding discussions over a hugely complex 54-page draft pact,
bureaucrats unveiled a document just four pages shorter and with vast
stretches of text yet to be agreed.
By the end of a day of frustratingly slow negotiations, tempers frayed.
am deeply concerned. I’m out of words. I have been doing this for many
years, and this is just not right,” Bolivia’s Juan Hoffmaister,
representing the G77 and China, told fellow negotiators at an evening
At the heart of the dispute is a demand by developing
nations that the rich shoulder the most responsibility for fighting
global warming because they have emitted most of the greenhouse gases
since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
But some rich
nations point out that developing nations, particularly China and India,
are now big polluters. Norwegian negotiator Aslak Brun said they were
grappling with “very hard lines on all sides”.
“Pointing fingers
at this point in time saying, ‘you are to blame and we are the good
guys’, it doesn’t help us. Collectively, we just have to really speed
up,” he said.
Ministers from around the globe will descend on
Paris on Monday to try to transform the draft prepared by diplomats into
a universal accord to avert planetary overheating.
The conference is scheduled to end on December 11.
French Environment Minister Segolene Royal said she was still confident warring sides would come together by December 11.
“It is normal for it to take a day or two for negotiations to get into gear,” she said. “It is unthinkable to imagine failure.”
At the core of the talks is the goal of limiting average warming to a maximum of 2C over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.
warn time for action is running out, issuing ever-louder warnings that
steadily growing carbon emissions will doom future generations to rising
seas and worsening floods, storms and drought – a recipe for hunger,
disease and homelessness for many millions.
James Hansen, one of the world’s foremost climate scientists, warned that even capping warming to 2C was a massive risk.
“Two degrees Celsius warming above pre-Industrial would put us at least at the temperature of the last inter-glacial period.
“Sea level was 6 to 9m higher then,” he said.
“If we let ice sheets become unstable, the world may become ungovernable because the economic consequence would be so great.”

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