Posts tagged ‘Developing Nations’

New climate talks set for 2010 in Cancun, Mexico

Delegates from 175-nations agreed on two extra sessions of U.N. climate control talks this year at the end of a tortuous meeting in Bonn that presaged big battles ahead over the non-binding Copenhagen Accord.

The Copenhagen Accord seeks to limit a rise in average world temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) over pre-industrial times but does not spell out how.

Reached at a fractious U.N. climate summit in December, the accord was strongly backed by Washington and bitterly opposed by some developing nations, though it also holds out the prospect of $100 billion climate aid a year from 2020.

“This process has big problems,” said Annie Petsonk of the U.S.-based Environmental Defense Fund, at the end of the meeting in Bonn.

The session had been due to end on Sunday, but delegates wrangled deep into the night over a two-page plan to guide negotiations, with several hours spent on the wording of what appeared to be uncontroversial phrases.

The final text skirted one of the biggest problems — the fate of the Copenhagen Accord. The December summit had disappointed many by failing to come up with a binding treaty.

“We have just about worked out the procedural kinks — save the big one, which is what to do about the way in which we will respond to the Copenhagen Accord,” Dessima Williams of Grenada, chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, told Reuters.

The accord was not mentioned by name in the Bonn workplan.

Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe of Zimbabwe, who chaired the U.N. talks and will draw up new draft texts by May 17, said the phrasing had a “constructive ambiguity…to me it seems to cover the work that was done to produce the Copenhagen Accord.”

The Accord has backing from almost 120 of 194 member states, including top emitters China, the United States, the European Union, Russia and India.

It faces opposition led by countries such as Bolivia, Cuba, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

Some developing nations complained that rich countries pledged insufficient action under the Accord to stop disaster for millions of people from floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising seas.

By contrast, Saudi Arabia fears a shift from oil to renewable energies.

Bolivia said that the Bonn meeting had ruled the Accord out of negotiations that will culminate in a ministerial meeting in Mexico in November and December.

“Despite continual attempts by the U.S. to make the completely unacceptable Copenhagen Accord the basis for future negotiations, I am glad to say they failed,” said Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s chief delegate.

The U.N.’s top climate official, Yvo de Boer, said he did not expect a breakthrough to achieve a new treaty in Mexico.

For a $125 billion carbon market, failure to agree a global legally binding deal would be “regrettable” but tough national policies were more important, said one expert.

“It is cap and trade which is driving this market,” said Andrei Marcu, head of regulatory and policy affairs at oil trading firm Mercuria.

Cap and trade schemes control industrial carbon emissions by forcing companies to buy from a fixed quota of emissions permits.

A European scheme is at the center of a carbon market which could grow significantly if the United States passes a climate bill this year.

“I’m looking very much to what the U.S. will do,” said Marcu, who was upbeat that the Bonn meeting had re-launched talks which “fell apart” in Copenhagen.

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April 12, 2010 at 8:44 AM Leave a comment

Developing nations hold the key to Copenhagen climate agreement

The world’s poorest and fastest-growing developing nations appear, increasingly, to hold the fate of a new climate agreement in their hands. The choice they face is, deal or no deal?

As the Copenhagen climate summit barreled into its penultimate phase Tuesday, wealthy countries ramped up pressure on emerging economies China and India, as well as African and island nations, to compromise and drop near-daily procedural tactics and protests that have slowed the negotiations.

Rich nations still hold some bargaining chips, chiefly how much money they’re willing to commit to help developing countries adapt to climate change and shift their energy sources over the long term.

A collapse in negotiations would trigger a blame game in which developing nations brand the United States and the West in general as the villains. Still, many negotiators and observers here say most of the key decisions that will seal or scuttle an agreement rest with poor and emerging nations.

China and India, whose booming economies are projected to account for much of the world’s emissions growth in coming decades, must decide whether they can accept the two conditions the U.S. calls fundamental to an agreement: that all nations make their carbon dioxide emissions reduction pledges clear and that they allow the world to verify that the pledges in fact are met.

Africans and island nations, for their part, must choose whether to accept greenhouse gas reductions for the developed world that are far weaker than the poor countries would like; scientists warn that the reductions proposed by wealthy nations might not be enough to spare the world’s poorest nations from flood, famine and other devastating effects of climate change.

Inside the Bella Center, the venue for the negotiations, summit attendees with deep ties to the developing world diverged sharply on whether those nations would ultimately strike an agreement or walk away.

“Only a fool will tell you definitely they know what China’s midnight position will be,” said Peter Goldmark, who directs the climate and air program for the Environmental Defense Fund, a group that works closely with China.

Goldmark thinks China will ultimately hold its line and reject international emissions-pledge monitoring in any form, a move U.S. officials insist would kill hopes for a deal. Other groups say China, the world’s largest emitter, does not want to risk blame if the talks fall through.

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December 16, 2009 at 10:30 AM Leave a comment

Four nations outline “green fund” plan for U.N. deal

Four nations proposed guiding principles for “green funds” on Wednesday, hoping to end deadlock at U.N. talks on ways to manage billions of dollars to help the poor cope with global warming.

“Financing will need to be scaled up significantly and urgently, starting fast and rising over time,” Britain, Australia, Mexico and Norway said in a joint submission to the December 7-18 meeting in Copenhagen on a new U.N. climate pact.

They said that at least 50 percent of any public finance should go to helping developing countries adapt to warming such as droughts, floods or rising sea levels, along with funds to help curb rising emissions.

But a document by the four nations did not set any figure for total funds to help developing nations. The United Nations says that it wants $10 billion a year for 2010-12 to help kick-start a deal with far more cash toward 2020.

It estimates that the total bill for fighting global warming may reach $300 billion a year in the long run, such as shifting away from fossil fuels toward green energies such as wind or solar power.

“We need predictable long-term funding,” said Hanne Bjursrom, a Norwegian cabinet minister who heads the Norwegian delegation. “But this isn’t a document that says ‘this and this is how it should be done’.”

She said the paper marked progress because it was proposed by three developed nations with Mexico, one of the richest nations among developing nations.

COSTS, EMISSIONS

Disputes over who should pay the costs are one of the main causes of friction at the U.N. talks, along with splits about how far developed nations should cut emissions by 2020. Poor nations want much deeper cuts than those on offer.

The document noted that Mexico has in the past suggested that all countries should pay into a fund that would be raised based on factors including gross domestic product, population, and use of carbon dioxide.

The document also mentioned a Norwegian proposal that some carbon emission allowances could be auctioned off to raise cash.

It said that there was an “emerging consensus” that any funds should be overseen by a high-level board with equal representation of poor and rich nations.

Developing countries accuse the rich of seeking to tie too many strings onto handouts. Rich nations want to ensure they have good oversight of donor funds.

December 10, 2009 at 10:23 AM Leave a comment

U.S. Climate Envoy Takes Aim At Developing Nations

Todd Stern, President Barack Obama’s top climate negotiator and envoy to next month’s international climate summit in Copenhagen, used blunt language in testimony to Congress when he zeroed in on developing countries’ participation in talks.

Todd Stern

Some developing countries are “hiding behind a misreading” of language in two key climate documents, the 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 2007 Bali Action Plan, which recognize different responsibilities and capabilities for rich and poor countries, Stern told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“What is not helpful is the way some developing countries … focus more on citing chapter and verse of dubious interpretations … designed to prove that they don’t have any responsibility for action now, rather than thinking through pragmatic ways to find common ground to start solving the problem,” Stern said.

Rich and poor countries will try to make progress in Copenhagen on a coordinated effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In Barcelona, where countries are meeting in a final preparatory session, developing countries said they risked “total destruction” from environmental disasters unless rich countries promised much tougher action on global warming.

In the Senate, where efforts to reduce U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have been delayed for months, a bipartisan group of senators held meetings with Obama administration officials to begin sketching out a compromise they hope can win broad support this year or next.

“Our effort is to try to reach out; to broaden the base of support” for a bill, said Democratic Senator John Kerry, who is leading the effort.

He is working with conservative Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and independent Senator Joseph Lieberman.

CARBON TRADE, NUCLEAR POWER

Besides looking at creating a market for companies to trade an ever-decreasing number of carbon pollution permits, the senators are working with the White House on ways to expand the U.S. nuclear power industry through government incentives.

They are also discussing allowing more offshore oil and natural gas exploration and boosting research into how to cleanly burn abundant U.S. supplies of coal.

“Part of this initiative is to create a vision for energy independence and marry it up with responsible … carbon pollution controls,” Graham told reporters.

Asked whether the United States would be able to sign on to a global agreement in Copenhagen, Stern said progress was “too slow.” But he added, “I think we have a fair distance yet to go, but I actually think there is a deal to be done.”

As Stern testified, a bill that would mandate a 20 percent reduction in U.S. smokestack emissions of carbon dioxide by 2020 was stalled.

Republicans boycotted a session of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the climate bill for a second day, saying they needed more detailed analysis of the measure’s economic impact.

That prompted Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse to declare: “The party of ‘no’ has devolved to the party of ‘no-show.'”

He was referring to Republicans’ opposition to most of Obama’s major initiatives, including healthcare reform, economic stimulus and climate change bills.

The committee’s chairman Senator Barbara Boxer, a Democrat, hopes for a vote soon to approve her bill soon to give a boost to the U.S. negotiating position in Copenhagen.

November 5, 2009 at 12:24 PM Leave a comment


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