Tue, Oct 20, 2015 - Page 7 News List

Last climate talks ahead of Paris open

‘WORLD IS WATCHING’:Developing nations are protesting that the draft omits G77 submissions on finance, but were told that throwing out the draft would not be an option

AFP, BONN, Germany

Tourists walk on the Solheimajokull Glacier, where the ice has receded by more than 1km since annual measurements began in 1931, in Iceland on Friday.

Photo: Reuters

UN negotiators opened a final round of talks in Bonn yesterday to thrash out the wording of a universal climate rescue pact to be inked in Paris in December.

Developing nations have objected to the latest, shortened blueprint for the agreement, saying some of their key demands have been dropped.

The five-day session is the last official meeting of rank-and-file negotiators to lay the groundwork for heads of states and ministers to seal a deal meant to curb global warming.

The pact, to take effect in 2020, will be the first agreement to include all 195 of the UN climate forum’s member nations.

The joint chairs of the talks have whittled the draft down from 80 pages to 20 since the last round of negotiations last month, to serve as the basis for this week’s talks.

However, initial reactions have been skeptical, especially from developing nations that insist that deleted passages be restored before the job of line-by-line text bartering can begin.

“We demand that the text be balanced for negotiations to commence,” said Gurdial Singh Nijar, a spokesman for the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) group, which includes major emitters China and India, as well as many African, Asian and Latin American nations.

A key concern was wording on US$100 billion in finance that the developed world had promised to mobilize by 2020 to help poorer nations make the shift to less-polluting energy and adapt to the unavoidable effects of global warming, such as sea-level rise.

The new draft “completely ignored the submissions of G77 on finance,” Nijar said.

The G77+China is a more than 100-strong grouping that includes the LMDCs, African nations and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) — all of which object to the current wording.

“The current text neither satisfies the concerns of all parties, nor would it lead to the actions required to avert a global calamity,” AOSIS chairman Thoriq Ibrahim of the Maldives said.

Peruvian Minister of the Environment Manuel Pulgar Vidal, who is presiding over the talks, recognized the disappointment of some parties.

However, he told delegates that throwing out the new draft was not an option.

Instead, he urged them to “work constructively in trying to find a fair, ambitious and pragmatic outcome.”

“The whole world is looking at us,” he said. “The [Paris] agreement must launch the transformation of our economies toward a low carbon and resilient ... society.”

Climate envoy Laurence Tubiana of conference host France said the current blueprint “lacks ambition on all the elements,” adding: “We are here today and for the rest of the week to correct these weaknesses.”

Nations have agreed to finalize a deal at a Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 UN conference in the French capital.

The overarching goal is to limit average global warming to 2oC over pre-Industrial Revolution levels — beyond which scientists say the impacts will be disastrous.

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