U.N. climate talks blocked over aid

The talks in the Polish capital are meant to lay the foundations for a global climate accord to be agreed in 2015 in Paris and to come into force after 2020.

U.N. climate talks blocked over aid

World Bulletin/News Desk

Almost 200 nations were deadlocked on Saturday over how to step up aid to ease the impact of global warming on developing nations as part of the foundations of an elusive U.N. climate accord due in 2015.

The Warsaw meeting, which had been due to end on Friday but extended into Saturday morning, had little to show after two weeks except for a deal on new rules to protect tropical forests, which soak up carbon dioxide as they grow.

"On finance there has been no progress," Claudia Salerno of Venezuela, who represents a group of developing nations including China and Indonesia, said late on Friday.

Developed nations, which promised in 2009 to raise climate aid to $100 billion a year after 2020 from $10 billion a year in the period 2010-12, were resisting calls by the developing world to set targets for 2013-19.

A draft text merely urged developed nations, which have been more focused on spurring economic growth than on fixing climate change, to set "increasing levels" of aid.

The talks were also considering a new "Warsaw Mechanism" to help developing nations cope with loss and damage from extreme events such as heat waves, droughts and floods, and creeping threats such as rising sea levels and desertification.

Developing nations insisted on a "mechanism" - to show it was separate from existing structures - even though rich countries say that it will not get new funds beyond the planned $100 billion a year from 2020.

In one step forward, governments agreed to a set of rules for safeguarding tropical forests in a deal aimed at unlocking big investments. The new plan is backed by $280 million from the United States, Britain and Norway.

Deforestation accounts for perhaps a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions from human sources. Trees release carbon when they rot or burn.

"Governments have shown their firm commitment to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation," U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres said in a statement.

Many delegates also said they wanted a clearer understanding of when nations will publish their plans for long-term cuts in greenhouse gases in the run-up to a summit in Paris in 2015. That meeting is meant to agree on a global climate pact to enter into force in 2020.

World leaders last tried, and failed, to agree to a global treaty at a summit in 2009.

A text on Saturday said that all nations should submit "intended nationally determined commitments" by the end of the first quarter of 2015, if they could. That would give time to compare and review pledges before the Paris summit.

The United States is among those advocating pledges be made by the end of the first quarter of 2015. "It's something to build on," said European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, who wants pledges in 2014.

But many developing nations say the rich are doing too little to lead.

"The political signals (for Paris) are just too weak," said Naderev Sano, a Philippine delegate fasting during the meeting in sympathy with victims of Typhoon Haiyan which killed 5,200 people. He says he has taken no food, only water and tea.

In September, a U.N. panel of scientists raised the probability that most climate change since 1950 is man-made to at least 95 percent, from 90 in a previous assessment in 2007.

It also said that "sustained and substantial" cuts in greenhouse gases are needed to achieve a U.N. goal of limiting warming to manageable levels.

Last Mod: 23 Kasım 2013, 09:11
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