Can UN climate talks catch up with the real world?
05 November 2015, Nirapad News: While companies and citizens find ways to cope with climate change on the ground and push governments to swap fossil fuels for clean energy, officials negotiating a U.N. deal to curb global warming often appear stuck in a time warp, experts say. At final talks before a Paris summit due to agree the new deal, South Africa’s top climate diplomat Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko told journalists climate change was a day-to-day reality for developing states – “a matter of life or death” for some.
Yet the discussions in Bonn seemed far off dealing with the impacts of worsening extreme weather and rising seas as an urgent threat, tripping up over procedural rows and the precise wording of a 51-page draft text to be taken to Paris.
Mxakato-Diseko, who chairs a key group of 134 developing states at the climate talks, insisted success in Paris next month would hinge on industrialised countries committing more public money to help poorer nations adapt to growing climate stresses and adopt renewable energy.
But some climate change experts – and developed-country negotiators – see this as an old-fashioned view of the world. Insisting that rich governments alone pay to fix the consequences of their historically high carbon pollution symbolises what a European Union official described as “very rigid and somewhat outdated rhetoric”, dividing the world according to income levels in the early 1990s, when the bedrock U.N. convention on climate change was crafted.
“To be effective, the new agreement must reflect today’s reality and evolve as the world does,” said Elina Bardram, head of the European Commission team, at the October talks in Bonn.