COP21: Finance row could block deal

3rd December 2015

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  • Adaptation ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Reporting ,
  • Management



Discussions over which countries will pay for damage caused by climate change are slowing down negotiations, with the G77 plus China group issuing a new warning that the issue threatens chances of a deal.

The G77 plus China negotiating block, which now consists of 134 countries, including Saudi Arabia and South Africa, yesterday complained about attempts by developed countries to widen the pool of donor nations that would contribute finance. The developed nations argue that developing countries "in a position to do so" should also contribute to funds to pay for climate change damage.

In a strongly worded statement, ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko of South Africa, which chairs the block, said: "The G77 and China is deeply concerned with the attempts to introduce economic conditions in the finance section currently under negotiation ... Any attempt to replace the core obligation of developed countries to provide financial support to developing countries with a number of arbitrarily identified economic conditions is a violation of the rules-based multilateral process and threatens an outcome here in Paris.

"If the world has really changed so much, we ask why it is that after all these decades all our members remain developing countries with little or no voice in global decision-making processes and institutions?

"Developing countries are already making significant contributions towards tackling climate change by taking voluntary actions, and this needs to be recognised in the text."

NGOs criticised the EU for taking a back seat in the discussions. Lies Craeynest, EU economic justice policy adviser at Oxfam International, said that the EU had a critical role in putting forward proposals to bridge the divide on tricky issues such as finance.

"The EU needs to be much more proactive. They might just be holding their cards too close to their chest but they risk being too late," she said, referring to the Copenhagen climate talks in 2009 when the EU was shut out as an agreement was hammered out by the US, China, India and Brazil.

Alden Mayer, director of policy and strategy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that progress on other issues had been "uneven", but reported headway on loss and damage, which is how countries deal with climate impacts that are beyond adaptation.

The US has previously resisted putting loss and damage into the text amid concerns that it would be liable for compensating countries. US president Barack Obama met with Christopher Loeak, president of the Marshall Islands, to discuss the issue. Commenting on the discussion, Loeak said: "After what Obama said to me today, I am more confident than ever before that we can secure the ambitious agreement we need."

Negotiators are meeting in small groups to discuss issues such as finance and monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV). They are required to produce a new negotiating text by Friday, which will be handed to the French government to prepare for when ministers arrive on Sunday.

Elsewhere at the conference, the CDP has launched a pilot project to develop and test methodologies to assess to what degree companies' operations are aligned with a low-carbon economy.

Car manufacturers, retailers and electricity utilities will take part in the one-year pilot study, which will take into account a company's business model, investments, operations and greenhouse gas emissions and management.

The project is in partnership with French energy and environment agency Ademe, which has expertise on carbon accounting, and the European Investment Bank. Fifteen companies have already signed up to take part, including Renault, Eon, Edf, Enel, Carrefour and Decathlon, according to Pedro Faria, technical director at the CDP.

"We will look at how companies talk about themselves, their main assets, how well a company is doing on emissions performance and overall consistency between actions," Faria said.

IEMA has been running a climate change campaign, #IEMANoCOPOut.

As part of the campaign, it ran a series of seven webinars with high-level speakers, including Russell Bishop, a senior economist at the New Climate Economy. Click here to catch up on this webinar.


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