Disputes over financing hamper talks on global warming

Some 200 countries hope to seal accord on global warming at UN climate summit in Paris in December

Disputes over financing for poor nations hampered negotiations on Friday among almost 200 countries racing against the clock to seal an accord on combating global warming at a UN climate summit in Paris in December.

Some delegates said they feared a repeat of the 2009 summit in Copenhagen when governments last tried, and failed, to agree a deal, although many others said they remained confident of a breakthrough at the November 30th-December 11th meeting in Paris.

US climate envoy Todd Stern predicted a deal would be reached in Paris despite scant progress in Bonn, Germany, the final meeting before Paris, on issues including climate finance.

Many nations want a deal, he said, but “you still have to hack our way through specific language and it gets pretty sensitive and pretty contentious”.


Developing nations, which say their views are often ignored, said climate finance is the core issue, and all sides reported scant progress on the issue in Bonn.

“We are extremely worried about the pace,” said Amjad Abdulla, who speaks on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, which fears rising sea levels.

Poor nations want clear promises of rising contributions from industrialised nations beyond an existing goal of $100 billion by 2020, from public and private sources, to help them curb greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to changes such as floods and droughts.

Rich nations led by the US and the EU want to make vaguer pledges beyond 2020 and for Paris to include new donors such as China, now outside the $100 billion plan, which last month pledged $3 billion for developing nations.

The Christian Aid group said a Paris deal was close “but climate finance is the elephant in the room”.

“Developing countries need Paris to be a success. We have no other option. For developing countries, climate change is a matter of life and death,” said Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko, South Africa’s delegate, who speaks on behalf of more than 130 developing nations and China.

An updated draft text of an accord on Friday covers 55 pages and has 1,490 brackets, marking points of disagreement. That was up from 20 pages at the start of the talks and far longer than hoped.

Nations were also split over how far the Paris text should include a new mechanism for loss and damage, meant to help emerging nations cope with the impact of droughts, hurricanes and rising sea levels.

Mexico’s delegate made an emotional link between Hurricane Patricia and the importance of a deal to limit warming. “We are currently evacuating our coastal area and getting ready,” Roberto Dondisch Glowinski said, his voice breaking with emotion. “I don’t think I have to say more about the urgency of getting this deal done.” – (Reuters)