by Abhishek Nayak

This week at the Barcelona Climate Change talks, Yve de Boer, UN’s top climate change official, will attempt to decrease the growing rift between the developed and the developing nations that threatens to sabotage all hopes of reaching an interim agreement at Copenhagen.

All nations agree to the fundamental principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’ that is the basis of all climate change negotiations, but there is very little agreement on the details of these responsibilities and recognition of capabilities. A major contention arose at the Bangkok meeting in September when some negotiators from developing nations walked out mid-way during the Canadian keynote which proposed scrapping the Kyoto Protocol and starting anew with a new framework for negotiations. A few major developed nations believe the Kyoto Protocol is an inadequate framework to achieve a comprehensive and ‘fair’ international deal.

Under the Kyoto Protocol the developed nations, officially termed as annex 1 countries, need to commit to making emission cuts and provide financing for adaptation in developing nations. Only a few annex 1 countries have passed national bills to target the ambitious emission cuts of 25%-40% of 1990 levels as proposed by the non-annex 1 countries. The annex 1 countries have a high target for emission cuts by 2050 but only weak targets for 2020. The island nations, which are especially vulnerable to rising sea levels, find this lack of commitment disconcerting and are accusing the developed world for not doing enough.

 There is also tremendous political pressure from the annex 1 countries on major developing world polluters like China and India, which are the largest and fourth largest CO2 emitters, to accept binding emission cuts. Both of these countries have made in abundantly clear that binding cuts are unacceptable under the Kyoto Protocol and unfair to their citizens whose per capita emissions are much lesser than the per capita emissions in the developed world.

 The EU recently agreed that there’s a need to provide 100bn euros(($148bn; £90bn) a year till 2020, but the members are still divided on the details of sharing the burden of this financial support for climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. Non-annex 1 countries find this number to be inadequate especially when there’s a possibility that much of these funding would come from existing international aid budgets. The developing nations consider this financial support to be an entitlement and not equal to aid which is not without merit considering that developed nations are majorly responsible for climate change effects.

 Over the next five weeks before the Copenhagen summit, negotiators need to reach common ground on some of these issues which are crucial to reaching a comprehensive climate treaty.

Ed note: This post is from Abhishek Nayak, who is part of the Indian Youth Delegation to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Abishek recently deferred a semester to work as a researcher and analyst at the India office of New Energy Finance, world’s leading provider of information and analysis in clean technology and carbon markets. He was also part of the founding team of Dhanax ‘s business to introduce retail investment in microcredit. He was a speaker at the FORTUNE Global Forum, 2007 and a student delegate to the 39th St Gallen symposium. He is currently an undergraduate at BITS-Pilani, India.  We are excited to have Abhishek joining the Dipsatch team.

Ed note: This post is from Abhishek Nayak, who is part of the Indian Youth Delegation to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Abishek recently deferred a semester to work as a researcher and analyst at the India office of New Energy Finance, world’s leading provider of information and analysis in clean technology and carbon markets. He was also part of the founding team of Dhanax ‘s business to introduce retail investment in microcredit. He was a speaker at the FORTUNE Global Forum, 2007 and a student delegate to the 39th St Gallen symposium. He is currently an undergraduate at BITS-Pilani, India.  We are excited to have Abhishek joining the Dipsatch team.

 

This week at the Barcelona Climate Change talks, Yve de Boer, UN’s top climate change official, will attempt to decrease the growing rift between the developed and the developing nations that threatens to sabotage all hopes of reaching an interim agreement at Copenhagen.

All nations agree to the fundamental principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’ that is the basis of all climate change negotiations, but there is very little agreement on the details of these responsibilities and recognition of capabilities. A major contention arose at the Bangkok meeting in September when some negotiators from developing nations walked out mid-way during the Canadian keynote which proposed scrapping the Kyoto Protocol and starting anew with a new framework for negotiations. A few major developed nations believe the Kyoto Protocol is an inadequate framework to achieve a comprehensive and ‘fair’ international deal.

Under the Kyoto Protocol the developed nations, officially termed as annex 1 countries, need to commit to making emission cuts and provide financing for adaptation in developing nations. Only a few annex 1 countries have passed national bills to target the ambitious emission cuts of 25%-40% of 1990 levels as proposed by the non-annex 1 countries. The annex 1 countries have a high target for emission cuts by 2050 but only weak targets for 2020. The island nations, which are especially vulnerable to rising sea levels, find this lack of commitment disconcerting and are accusing the developed world for not doing enough.

 There is also tremendous political pressure from the annex 1 countries on major developing world polluters like China and India, which are the largest and fourth largest CO2 emitters, to accept binding emission cuts. Both of these countries have made in abundantly clear that binding cuts are unacceptable under the Kyoto Protocol and unfair to their citizens whose per capita emissions are much lesser than the per capita emissions in the developed world.

 The EU recently agreed that there’s a need to provide 100bn euros(($148bn; £90bn) a year till 2020, but the members are still divided on the details of sharing the burden of this financial support for climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. Non-annex 1 countries find this number to be inadequate especially when there’s a possibility that much of these funding would come from existing international aid budgets. The developing nations consider this financial support to be an entitlement and not equal to aid which is not without merit considering that developed nations are majorly responsible for climate change effects.

 Over the next five weeks before the Copenhagen summit, negotiators need to reach common ground on some of these issues which are crucial to reaching a comprehensive climate treaty.

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