Many hur­dles to Paris deal on cli­mate change

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH -

NEW YORK: Al­most 200 na­tions will meet in Paris from Nov 30-Dec 11 for a sum­mit on cli­mate change, seek­ing a turn­ing point away from an in­creas­ing reliance on fos­sil fu­els since the In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion. Fol­low­ing are among the hur­dles to a United Na­tions ac­cord that will map out ac­tion by rich and poor na­tions be­yond 2020 to curb green­house gas emis­sions blamed for warm­ing the planet.

Fi­nance De­vel­oped na­tions promised in 2009 to mo­bi­lize $100 bil­lion a year by 2020, from both pub­lic and pri­vate sources, to help de­vel­op­ing na­tions limit their green­house gas emis­sions and adapt to more floods, heat waves and ris­ing sea lev­els. The main group of more than 130 de­vel­op­ing na­tions wants ever higher fig­ures be­yond 2020. The United States, the Euro­pean Union and other rich na­tions do not want to guar­an­tee higher fig­ures. There are many un­cer­tain­ties about how to count the money. De­vel­op­ing na­tions ques­tion es­ti­mates by the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment that cli­mate fi­nance reached $62 bil­lion in 2014.

Long-term goal Hosts France said in a Nov 19 note that many coun­tries fa­vor the phrase “global trans­for­ma­tion to­wards low-emis­sion and cli­mate re­silient so­ci­eties” to sig­nal the long-term shift from fos­sil fu­els to­wards greener en­ergy. But that may be too vague for some. The Group of Seven in­dus­tri­al­ized na­tions set a tar­get in June of a de­car­bon­i­sa­tion of the world econ­omy this cen­tury. Some de­vel­op­ing na­tions, and many cli­mate activists, want a far tougher tar­get of phas­ing out fos­sil fu­els by 2050. China and In­dia, heav­ily de­pen­dent on coal, are among those re­luc­tant to set clear dates for giv­ing up fos­sil fu­els they see as vi­tal to lift mil­lions from poverty. De­vel­op­ing na­tions want a long-term mech­a­nism to help them cope with loss and dam­age from dis­as­ters such as ty­phoons or the im­pacts of a creep­ing rise of sea level rise. All gov­ern­ments agreed to set up a loss and dam­age mech­a­nism in 2013 but it has yet to do any sub­stan­tial work and is up for re­view in 2016. France’s note said na­tions want it in­cluded in the Paris deal. The United States and many other rich na­tions are wary, say­ing they will not sign up to any text that im­plies “com­pen­sa­tion” or “li­a­bil­ity” - fear­ing it ex­pose them to a mass of claims linked to their green­house gas emis­sions.

Rais­ing am­bi­tion The United Na­tions says prom­ises by about 170 na­tions to curb green­house gas emis­sions be­yond 2020, made in the run-up to Paris, are too weak to limit ris­ing tem­per­a­tures to an agreed 2 de­grees Cel­sius (3.6 Fahren­heit) above pre-in­dus­trial times. That means there will have to be a sys­tem to ratchet up ac­tion. France’s Nov 19 note says many na­tions want a first “global stock­tak­ing” in 2018-19. A weak agree­ment would de­lay any re­views un­til 2020 or 2025. France’s note says a stock tak­ing would merely iden­tify “where we stand col­lec­tively” in fight­ing cli­mate change, and not crit­i­cize lag­gards. It would help lay the ba­sis for new rounds of prom­ises to com­bat warm­ing.

Le­gal force All na­tions agreed in 2011 that the Paris deal will have some form of “le­gal force”. They left open about whether that meant a treaty un­der in­ter­na­tional law or a looser deal an­chored in each na­tion’s do­mes­tic laws. Many de­vel­op­ing na­tions and the Euro­pean Union favour a bind­ing treaty, or pro­to­col. But the United States and China, among those re­luc­tant to sign up for in­ter­na­tional over­sight, pre­fer an ac­cord based on do­mes­tic laws and reg­u­la­tions. — Reuters

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