Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 29th 2015 Contents BG20 INTERNATIONAL
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt OCTOBER 29 • 2015
The trillion-dollar question
of who should pay for global
warming is coming to a head
in talks on an international
climate pact, as developing
countries worry they won t
get enough money to tackle the problem.
With just four weeks left before a UN
climate summit in Paris, developing coun-
tries closed ranks at weeklong talks that
ended Friday in Bonn and called on wealthy
nations to make firm financial commitments
to help them fight and adapt to climate
The Paris summit "will be judged by what
is contained in the core agreement on
finance. For us, that will be the yardstick
for success," said Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko
of South Africa, who chairs a developing
country bloc of 134 countries.
In testy exchanges with the Algerian and
US diplomats leading the climate talks,
Mxakato-Diseko complained that a draft
deal they produced was "lopsided" in favour
of developed countries. She even drew an
analogy to apartheid.
Western delegates said they were disap-
pointed by the characterisation of the talks
as a rich-poor struggle over responsibilities
to address climate change.
"We strongly oppose that division,"
Netherlands climate envoy Michel Rentenaar
told The Associated Press. "If there is a
division, it s perhaps between those who
want an ambitious accord and those who
The slow pace in Bonn contrasted with
the momentum outside the UN talks. Lead-
ers of the Group of Seven wealthy economies
this year endorsed "deep cuts" in climate-
warming greenhouse gases, top polluters
China and the US deepened their cooper-
ation on climate issues and Pope Francis
called fighting climate change a moral
Yet delegates said it wasn t surprising
that negotiations on the Paris agreement
would get stuck on money---always a stum-
bling block in the UN talks---and that it
probably would be one of the last issues to
The Paris deal is likely to have some pro-
visions on financing projects to fight global
warming for poor countries. The question
is how specific they will be.
"Some people just want to plant a few
seeds and some want the rosebush in full
bloom," said Alden Meyer, an observer of
the talks from the Union of Concerned Sci-
Developed countries have agreed to boost
the flow of climate finance to US$100 billion
annually by 2020, but are reluctant to make
firm commitments beyond that, partly
because of budget uncertainties. They also
want to expand the pool of donors to include
China and other emerging economies.
European Union negotiator Sarah Blau
said that was already happening outside the
negotiations, pointing to a recent US-China
announcement where Beijing pledged US$3.1
billion in climate finance to poor countries.
The UN talks, she said, are "somehow
detached from what s happening really on
The money is used in two ways. First, to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions by helping
developing countries switch from high-pol-
luting fossil fuels to wind, solar and other
renewable sources of energy. Second, to
help the most vulnerable countries including
small island nations adapt to climate change
by building barriers against rising seas or
developing drought-resilient crops.
Climate finance is hard to measure
because there are no common standards on
what to count. A recent report by the Organ-
isation for Economic Cooperation and Devel-
opment estimated climate finance flows
reached US$62 billion in 2014, which devel-
oped countries took as a sign they were well
on track toward the US$100 billion.
Mxakato-Diseko dismissed those figures
as unreliable "because we don t know what
methodology was used, the veracity thereof,
the credibility thereof."
Coalescing around the finance issue,
developing countries appeared more united
in Bonn than at previous talks this year and
collectively rejected a 20-page draft agree-
ment they said didn t address their concerns.
Amendments were made to the text, adding
many competing options but few compro-
mises. When the conference had ended Fri-
day, the agreement had swelled to 55 pages.
"The bad news is that it is no longer a
concise text," UN climate chief Christiana
US climate envoy Todd Stern called the
growing text "fully to be expected" and said
negotiators would have to refine it in Paris.
"It s what we have and we ll go to work,"
Stern told reporters.
A deal in the French capital would be the
first asking all countries to take action to
reduce emissions. The previous agreement,
the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, only required emis-
sions targets from developing countries.
This time more than 150 countries have
announced emissions targets for after 2020,
when the Paris deal would take effect.
However, all commitments are voluntary
so far. European attempts to make them
compulsory in the agreement face stiff
resistance from the Obama administration,
which needs to submit any internationally
binding targets to a skeptical Senate for
Talks on climate deal heat up
over bill for global warming
In this Friday, October 16, 2015 file photo an ice floe floats on a lake in front of the Solheimajokull glacier, where the ice has
retreated by more than one kilometre (0.6 miles) since annual measurements began in 1931. The trillion-dollar question of
who should pay for global warming is coming to a head in talks on an international climate pact, as developing countries worry
they won't get enough money to tackle the problem. With just five weeks left before a U.N. climate summit in Paris,
developing countries closed ranks at weeklong talks ending Friday, October 23, 2015 in Bonn and called on wealthy nations to
make firm financial commitments to help them fight and adapt to climate change. AP
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