With the two-week-long UN Climate Change negotiations meandering through its scheduled closing day here on Friday, climate experts are still quarreling over the flow of climate finance from the developed to the developing world.
“How much money will rich nations give to poor nations under the Paris Climate Agreement is a big question. The more important is time. When,” a negotiator representing a developing nation told IANS.
He said these are the fundamental questions with which negotiators from 197 governments were grappling with as the conference is close to its scheduled culmination.
At Bonn, India reiterated provisions for finance — both for adaptation and mitigation, technology transfer for climate actions from the developed nations.
A day after a major victory for India and developing countries on climate action before 2020 that the developed world agreed to discuss in subsequent two years, India’s Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan said provisions for finance, technology transfer and capacity building support to developing nations are critical.
Stressing that this Conference of Parties (COP23) is crucial as it would set the stage for the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue, accelerate pre-2020 action and firm up the modalities for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement, he said India has undertaken ambitious mitigation and adaptation action.
The action is in the fields of clean energy, especially renewable energy; enhancement of energy efficiency; development of less carbon-intensive and resilient urban centers; and promotion of waste-to-wealth and efforts to enhance carbon sink through creation of forest and tree cover.
On the demand of BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China), Fiji, which is presiding over the conference, has also been asked to send letters to all the countries which are yet to ratify the Doha amendments to the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 to do so “as soon as possible”.
The developed countries have also been asked to give information by May 1 next year on the progress they have made on pre-2020 action that relates to their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol that includes reduction of emissions and transfer of technology and finance.
India had been demanding since the start of the climate summit on November 6 that pre-2020 climate action be included in the formal agenda of the negotiations.
The developed world had so far been resisting this.
The BASIC countries also emphasised the need for openness, transparency and the country-driven nature of negotiations at the annual summit.
In addition to the commitment to discuss how to scale up climate action, countries made modest progress in developing a negotiating text for “the Paris Rulebook” comprising the guidelines needed for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
In reaction to progress of the talks, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Wendel Trio, said: “Limited progress has been made on the tangible issues related to climate finance and how to deal with the catastrophic impacts of climate change, such as those that a number of vulnerable countries have witnessed in the previous months.”
“Agreements only cover the process to further discuss these issues and adequate action has again been delayed.
“The Talanoa Dialogue roadmap should help countries bridge the gap between what they have committed to do and what is needed to keep temperature rise to safe levels. We need to go much further and faster, the current snail’s pace of the talks does not match the urgency of climate action nor the speed of the renewable energy transition on the ground,” Trio added.
Talanoa is the Pacific tradition of decision-making based on respect and understanding to a negotiating process that has often lacked both.
Christian Aid’s International Climate Lead, Mohamed Adow, said this year’s meeting showed an encouraging appetite for action on emissions before 2020.
He said despite that progress, COP23 still failed to deliver the financial support needed to accelerate the efforts of developing countries wanting to follow a clean energy path.
“The continued commitment to climate ambition in the real economy, for instance, by the US non-state actor coalition ‘We Are Still In’, has shown that we can overcome the challenges we encounter on this journey,” Environmental Advocacy European Climate Foundation CEO Laurence Tubiana said in a statement.
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said: “We know from experience that putting women at the heart of tackling climate change can result in more impactful, equitable and sustainable actions.”
“The Gender Action Plan is designed to do just that. It highlights and supports the role women can and do play in building resilience and adapting to the impacts of climate change. It focuses global attention on how we can turn words into deeds.”
Two years after the world united around the Paris Climate Agreement and a year after its entry into force, the 195 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 197 have reconvened for their annual climate change talks (this one is COP 23) in Bonn.
The talks aimed to take a number of decisions necessary to bring the Paris Agreement to life including meaningful progress on the agreement to implement guidelines to keep global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius with an aim to cut greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.
(Vishal Gulati is in Bonn at the invitation of Global Editors Network to cover COP23. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)