No consensus in sight yet at climate change summit

December 11th, 2008 - 8:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Poznan (Poland), Dec 11 (IANS) Negotiators at the crucial climate change summit here were working hard Thursday to arrive at a consensus on the strategy to combat global warming that has eluded them so far with only a day to go.Over 3,000 delegates from 186 countries attending the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) summit remained deadlocked on substantive issues despite prodding from over 5,000 NGO representatives.

By all indications on the penultimate day of the summit, negotiators aiming to fight climate change - which is already affecting farm output, leading to more frequent and more sever droughts, floods and storms and raising the sea level - were still far from any consensus.

Reports coming out of the various sessions of the summit made it clear that there had been no movement on preparing a work plan for 2009, though the end of next year is the deadline for finalising a new deal to fight climate change.

There is now some doubt over whether that deadline will be met, though a senior member of the Indian government delegation was confident that it would be.

There has been a step back here on commitments by industrialised countries on keeping their greenhouse gas emissions within promised ranges and targets. The emissions, which lead to global warming, are continuing to increase.

A move to start a fund that would help the least developed countries (LDC) cope with climate change effects is still bogged down over how to give LDCs direct access to the kitty, though the kitty does not have any money in it yet.

There has been zero movement over technology transfer to and financing for developing countries to help them move towards a greener economy, or over reforming the clean developing mechanism that has been set up to pay developing countries for green projects.

The idea of paying developing countries to halt deforestation is stuck over how to measure the benefit it provides in terms of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Right through this frustrating process, India, China, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and other developing countries under the G77 and China grouping have made a number of proposals in efforts to break the logjam, to no avail so far.

In summary, said a NGO representative who has been attending climate change summits for many years: “We can now expect only procedural movement out of Poznan, with almost no progress on substance.

“G77 has been progressive, but umbrella countries (the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand) are blocking progress, and EU has not been helpful.”

(Joydeep Gupta can be contacted at )

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