Divisive UN climate talks head into final stretch

Nov 19, 2013
Enviromental activists march demanding more climate saving actions during UN climate change talks on November 16, 2013

Government ministers start arriving in Warsaw Tuesday for the final stretch of UN climate talks seeking to pave the way to a global deal in 2015 on curbing global warming.

With only four days left in the annual round of notoriously fractious negotiations, delegates and observers say little progress has been made on key agenda points—with finance for poor countries proving the most divisive issue.

"The finance issue is creating a lot of anger here," Alden Meyer, strategy director of US environmental group, the Union of Concerned Scientists, told AFP.

"Hopefully the ministers can come in now and start working on some on the political elements... and finally come up with compromises and defuse some of the tensions."

Developing countries want rich nations to show how they intend keeping a promise made in 2009 to ramp up finance to $100 billion a year by 2020.

The money is meant to help them prepare for and cope with the fallout from .

But developed nations dealing with the effects of the , are hesitant to put any figures on the table for the 2020 target, for shorter-term funding, or commit to a "loss and damage" mechanism they fear will make them liable for climate damage compensation.

"Developing countries need to feel confident that the commitment to that 100 billion is still on the table despite current financial circumstances," UN climate chief Christiana Figueres told journalists on Monday.

Christiana Figueres, the Chief Executive of the UN Convention on Climate Change, speaks at the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, on November 30, 2012

"There needs to be more clarity on how that funding is going to be mobilised.

Ministers will meet for talks on finance on Wednesday.

The roadmap to a new, global climate deal due to be signed by the 2015 UN conference in Paris, is also proving a tough nut for negotiators to crack.

The deal must bind all the world's nations to climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions cuts in a bid to meet the UN target of limiting average to 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 deg Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

But they do not agree on the deadline for final country emissions pledges—with some nations saying this could happen only after Paris.

US negotiator Todd Stern said Monday there was "considerable convergence" around the idea that countries should be allowed to make their own emissions curb "commitments", which would be opened to scrutiny and which the country could then revise.

Some, however, want more than mere peer pressure on countries to make sure their pledges are adequate to halt the march of global warming.

Deep disagreement also remains on whether rich nations with a long history of emissions should bear a bigger emissions-cutting burden.

Explore further: Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Clock ticking on 2015 climate talks deal: EU

Sep 06, 2013

Countries around the world need to act with a sense of urgency if the 2015 UN climate change talks on cutting emissions are to have a credible outcome, a top EU official warned Friday.

UN climate talks open amid 'sobering' typhoon

Nov 11, 2013

Nations launched a new round of talks Monday for a 2015 deal to cut Earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions in the aftermath of a deadly Philippines typhoon the UN's climate chief labelled "sobering".

Typhoon Haiyan overshadows UN climate talks (Update)

Nov 11, 2013

The devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan cast a gloom over U.N. climate talks Monday as the envoy from the Philippines broke down in tears and announced he would fast until a "meaningful outcome is in sight."

Two-degree global warming limit 'ever more elusive': UN

Nov 05, 2013

The chance of limiting global temperature increases to two degrees Celsius this century are swiftly diminishing, a new United Nations report warned Tuesday, ahead of the body's annual climate talks next week.

Recommended for you

Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

1 hour ago

One of the most prolific oil and gas basins on the planet sits just off Cuba's northwest coast, and the thaw in relations with the United States is giving rise to hopes that Cuba can now get in on the action.

New challenges for ocean acidification research

Dec 19, 2014

Over the past decade, ocean acidification has received growing recognition not only in the scientific area. Decision-makers, stakeholders, and the general public are becoming increasingly aware of "the other carbon dioxide ...

Compromises lead to climate change deal

Dec 19, 2014

Earlier this month, delegates from the various states that make up the UN met in Lima, Peru, to agree on a framework for the Climate Change Conference that is scheduled to take place in Paris next year. For ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.