UN climate chief doesn’t expect detailed outcome even in Copenhagen

December 9th, 2008 - 10:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Poznan (Poland), Dec 9 (IANS) With the current climate change summit stuck over lack of funds and bickering between industrialised and developing countries, the UN climate chief does not expect a “fully elaborated outcome” even by the next summit in Copenhagen December 2009.Over 3,000 bureaucrats from 186 countries attending the Dec 1-12 summit here remained behind closed doors Tuesday, desperately trying to square the circle on a host of issues before their ministers arrive for the high-level segment of the summit, scheduled Thursday and Friday.

The little that trickled out of the meeting rooms - mainly through the over 5,000 from over 400 NGOs listening in - indicated sharp disagreement on who would administer the funds meant for least developed countries (LDC) to adapt to climate change.

Climate change, caused mostly by excess carbon emissions in the atmosphere due to industrial activities, is already affecting farm output, leading to more frequent and more severe droughts, floods and storms and raising the sea level, with developing countries bearing the brunt.

The Adaptation Fund (AF) proposed for LDCs to cope with climate change effects is stuck because these countries want “direct access” to the money without having to go through the onerous processes of the World Bank which administers most environment funds. But industrialised countries are uneasy with the idea.

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said Tuesday that on the AF, “the glass is now two-thirds full. We have agreed on direct access to the fund through accredited national agencies”.

But many LDCs do not have any “accredited national agencies”, and de Boer added the debate about whether their governments could access these funds directly was still going on, and may be left up to the ministers to decide.

The UN climate chief Tuesday chose to look ahead on the road to Copenhagen, the December 2009 deadline to negotiate new greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments from industrialised countries.

Given the current state of negotiations at the Poznan summit, de Boer said “I don’t think it will be feasible to have a fully elaborated long-term response to the climate crisis by the Copenhagen summit. We should be careful not to reach too far and achieve nothing.”

But he did expect a “clarity on commitments from industrialised countries, including on numbers, for the Copenhagen summit, plus some form of engagement on mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions from major developing countries”.

“Though what form it will take is not clear to me. Economic development and poverty eradication in developing countries must not be jeopardised,” he said.

The current Poznan summit is the first time ministers are meeting after the Bali summit last year, and the last time they were scheduled to meet before the Copenhagen summit, de Boer pointed out. He added that he expected the ministers to give a strong political push to the negotiators so that the fight against climate change was taken up more vigorously.

(Joydeep Gupta can be contacted at joydeep.g@ians.in)

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