Friday, October 23, 2015

Climate negotiators gear up for war of words at Bonn talks

By Megan Rowling, BRACED
"It does not inspire," Prakash Javadekar, India's minister for environment, forests and climate change, said cuttingly of the chopped-down version of the draft text for a new U.N. deal to tackle climate change, released last week.
"We should certainly have a different text for the Paris (climate conference) to become (a) success," he told the Times of India in a recent interview.
Negotiators from India and the other 190 or so nations involved in cooking up a global agreement due in December will be submitting their suggestions to improve that text fast and furiously in Bonn from Oct. 19-23, at the final round of official negotiations before the Paris summit starts on Nov. 30.
As climate talks experts point out, the new text will annoy everyone in some way. Yet in spite its brevity, it still includes the major components countries had wanted to see, with the exception perhaps of forest protection and carbon markets.
"It's a solid foundation to work from," said Liz Gallagher, leader of the climate diplomacy programme at London-based consultancy E3G. "It's quite likely that all countries will both love it and hate it, in equal measure."
Javadekar did not specify what India didn't like about the current draft, which was distilled by the co-chairs of the talks from around 85 pages down to 20 - or put on the "Atkins Diet", as Gallagher quipped.

Environmental activists stage a tug-of-war. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
But India has been vocal in the past about the need for adequate financial and technical support for developing countries to cope with climate change and move to lower-carbon economies. 
And New Delhi often reminds the international community that richer countries must cut down on their consumption and not expect poorer nations to put emissions cuts before economic development.
What is missing?
The chair of the least developed countries group at the climate talks tweeted his disappointment that a proposal by 134 developing countries on tackling loss and damage from climate change - the negative impacts of extreme weather and rising seas that are already happening - had been "ignored" in the new text.
The proposal called for an international mechanism on loss and damage to be included in the legally binding part of the Paris outcome and for the creation of "a climate change displacement coordination facility", to help those forced to leave their homes by climate impacts, among other things.
Others were relieved to see loss and damage get a section of its own in the proposed draft agreement, but concerned that all the detail had been removed. The text notes that progress is being made on the controversial concept, but more discussion is needed on "content and placement".  
That and other discussions will kick off on Monday, with experts expecting countries to react to the new text at the beginning of the session and then get down to work on it line by line.
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