UN Climate Talks Roundup: EU, US Balk at Funding Pledges
The European Union and the United States refused at the United Nations’ climate talks in Doha to commit to concrete climate funding for poor nations, while India continued to balk at any agreement requiring developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
The UN climate talks, which got underway November 26 in Doha, Qatar, are focused on laying the groundwork for an agreement that will extend the life of the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only binding pact on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
Developing countries said this week they need at least another $60 billion from now to 2015 to deal with climate change-related droughts, floods, rising seas and storms, reported AFP. While pledges from individual countries have started to come in, both the EU and US have resisted. The EU said tight finances prevented it taking on near-term commitments as a bloc and the US insisted it was already “doing what we agreed to do,” reported AFP.
Disagreements have largely centered on timing, with the least developed nations arguing the funding should start now. The discussions are separate from heated talks over whether rich countries should pay developing countries for “loss and damage” in vulnerable areas caused by climate change.
India, meanwhile, opposed any agreement that would require developing countries to curb greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, one of the country’s most important industries, reported the New York Times. India is the world’s largest livestock owner and the second largest producer of methane, a byproduct of livestock’s digestive processes.
But India wasn’t alone in its opposition. A majority of developing countries agreed agriculture-related emissions, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, should not be included in the gases nations are being asked to commit to cut, the Times reported. Instead, they’d like discussions to focus on how to help poor farmers impacted by climate change.
As the negotiators continued to bicker over cash and commitments, a report co-authored by former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern said rich nations alone can’t stop global warming, reported The News International. While rich countries are responsible for the bulk of Earth-warming gas emissions, all nations were moving “recklessly slow” on reducing emissions, according to the report released this week by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy.
Meanwhile, a report released this week by the World Bank said the Middle East and North Africa will be hit particularly hard by climate change in the coming decade. The Adaptation to a Changing Climate in the Arab Countries report, which urges immediate action to avoid the projected consequences of water shortages and rising food insecurity, provides an assessment of the threat to the region posed by increasingly severe weather and offers a set of policy options of managing the effects.
Also this week, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the Arctic has already been highly impacted by climate change. The region broke new records for loss of sea ice and spring snow cover this year, according to the annual Arctic Report Card, reported the Los Angeles Times.
The Arctic sea ice retreated to a record minimum since scientists began measuring it with satellites in 1979, the report said.
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