Two days in to the high-level portion of the UN climate talks talking place in Doha, Qatar, distrust over climate financing are already causing a rift between developing and developed countries.
Given that an improved trust between the two sides is considered essential to a successful outcome to these talks, the bickering over finance is not all that encouraging.
Developing countries want to see a sign that developed countries will deliver on their promise to give $100 billion per year to the developing world to fund their climate mitigation and adaptation efforts. If they don't feel that this has been adequately guaranteed, the developing countries could block the transition to the new ‘Durban platform' track of negotiations, which aims to agree a new binding climate deal by 2015 that would take effect in 2020.
Specifically, the developing countries want to see the developed bloc commit to a mid-term milestone of at least $60 billion by 2015, in addition to a $10-15 billion commitment before then to the Green Climate Fund.
Developing countries were outraged yesterday to find that the latest negotiating text for closing the existing track of negotiations (known as LCA) contained no section on finance. China, Columbia, Egypt and Ecuador have all made strong statements saying a decision on finance is needed urgently, according to people on the ground.
Tim Gore, who is observing the negotiations for campaign group Oxfam, said that what green groups and the developing world will now be watching for are “red herrings” – things that look like real offers of finance from the developed world but are in fact just empty words. For instance, Oxfam says unilateral financing promises by developed countries, while welcome, are not the same as commitment in the UN texts. They also say the developed countries need to commit to “increase” climate finance rather than “continue” it, since the financing is meant to increase drastically next year under the deal worked out in 2010 at the Cancun summit.
One hope is that the EU might announce that it will use a portion of the proceeds from the financial transaction tax set to be implemented next year in 12 member states to go directly to the Green Climate Fund.
“Climate finance is not aid or charity – it's a legal obligation under the UNFCCC in light of the responsibilities of developed countries for causing the climate crisis,” said Gore.
Dave Keating reports on the interrelated issues of environment, energy, climate change, transport, health, agriculture, fisheries and research for European Voice. In this blog, Dave brings you insights into the sometimes byzantine world of European Union policymaking as well as the equally confusing nature of life in Brussels. Originally from outside New York City, Dave has lived in Europe for six years. He can be reached at DaveKeating@economist.com.
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