Climate talks: G77, China slam rich nations

04 Dec 2015


The developing country bloc of G77 and China on Thursday launched a sharp attack on some developed countries at the climate talks in Paris for trying to amend the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to tie financing to conditions in the draft agreement.

In contrast to India, which has been maintaining a low-key position, the G77+China group (of which India is a part) said the developed countries that had opted out of the Kyoto Protocol, or failed to ratify it, were introducing conditions for financing which were not part of the Framework Convention.

A group of developed country parties were trying to introduce a condition that the finance mechanism for developing countries under the Paris agreement would depend on domestic mobilisation of resources, Ambassador Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, chairperson for the bloc, said at a press conference at CoP21.

The G77+China views this as a deviation from what was agreed at the climate change conference held in Durban in 2011. The mandate at that event was for full implementation of the UNFCCC, and coming up with an agreement to deal with climate change beyond 2020. ''There is no purpose trying to renegotiate the convention,'' Mxakato-Diseko said.

Two sharp issues raised by the group are on the inclusion of loosely defined text and conditionalities to financing. The draft, for instance, says that developed countries ''in a position to do so'' will provide finances to help developing countries adapt. This is vague in legal terms, and difficult to enshrine in an agreement.

Also, issues such as an 'enabling domestic environment' and the ability to raise resources domestically were sought to be linked to financing. Throwing in such text into a process that has already been categorically decided by the Convention was an obvious attempt to waste time at negotiations.

''Finance is make or break. We want a commitment on finance, and the certainty that we will measure and verify that financial and technical transfer are coming forth,'' the spokesperson said, describing the arrangement as a ''two way street.''

The G77 group is also unhappy with the foregrounding of decarbonisation in the draft text. It says nowhere is the term mentioned in the UN Framework Convention, and slipping this into the Paris agreement would be dangerous as it could be used as a non-tariff barrier or to impose sanctions.

The convention is explicit and the principle of 'Common but Differentiated Responsibilities' is embedded. ''When a developed country wants to self differentiate for itself, without verification whether it will implement [the agreement] the perversity becomes apparent,'' Mxakato-Diseko said, declining to identify the nations in question. She was asked whether she was referring to the United States or the United Kingdom. Although the developed countries named some developing nations as obstructing talks, ''we don't name and shame,'' she responded.

India's moderate stance
India on Thursday adopted a moderate position, reiterating its commitment to scale up renewable energy, for which it was seeking international support, and declining to identify a likely date when its carbon emissions would peak.

Ajay Mathur, the official spokesman, said the negotiators were working on unresolved issues to meet the deadline to hand over the negotiated text to the French presidency of CoP21 by Friday evening.

Earlier, on Wednesday, India asked the developed world to ''walk the talk'' and honour its pre-2020 commitments in the fight against climate change and joined Brazil, China and South Africa in seeking a clear roadmap in this regard.

As the rich-poor divide dominated crucial talks in France to limit global warming, environment minister Prakash Javadekar, while spelling out India's stand, asserted that India will be flexible and a facilitator in finding a solution instead of being a part of the climate change problem.

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