Sun, Nov 24, 2013 - Page 5 News List

UN climate talks stalled over aid and carbon cuts

TENSE:Some nations called for a mechanism to help them deal with disasters made worse by climate change, but rich nations are seeking to avoid liability

AP, WARSAW

UN climate talks have carried over into an extra day as more than 190 countries wrangle over climate aid to developing countries and milestones for work on a new global warming pact.

After all-night talks, a new draft agreement emerged yesterday with vague guidelines on when countries should present their carbon emissions targets for a larger deal that is supposed to be adopted in Paris in 2015.

Developing countries want to make sure that richer countries adopt stricter targets than they do and have resisted a push by the EU and the US for a clear timeline.

The latest draft said countries should present their commitment by the first quarter of 2015 if “in a position to do so.”

Negotiations were expected to continue into yesterday afternoon.

“Climate negotiations are understandably tense because there is still a perception that if one country wins the other loses,” Jake Schmidt of the Natural Resources Defense Council said. “That isn’t true as countries clearly have a huge domestic upside to action, but that perception still lingers.”

The UN climate talks were launched in 1992 after scientists warned that humans were warming the planet by pumping carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels.

In Warsaw, negotiators were trying to lay the foundation of a deal in 2015 that would take effect five years later, but were bogged down by recurring disputes over who needs to do what, when and how.

Countries made progress on advancing a program to reduce deforestation in developing countries, an important source of emissions because trees absorb carbon dioxide.

Climate financing proved harder to agree on.

Rich countries have promised to help developing nations make their economies greener and to adapt to rising sea levels, desertification and other climate impacts.

They have provided billions of dollars in climate financing in recent years, but it is unclear how they are going to fulfill a pledge to scale up annual contributions to US$100 billion by 2020.

Pointing to the devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, island nations also demanded a new “loss and damage mechanism” to help them deal with weather disasters made worse by climate change.

Rich countries were seeking a compromise that would not make them liable for damage caused by extreme weather events.

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