Tuesday, November 27, 2012
U.N. Climate Talks Stumble Between Rich & Poor Countries
A $100-billion-a-year promise from rich nations — including Canada — to help poor countries deal with climate change is still unfunded as of the end of 2012, a new report shows. And a second fund, meant to jump start the promise, will run dry by Dec. 31. Canada has given $400 million a year for the last three years to the latter climate fund to provide a down payment for poor countries to begin the work of cutting emissions and adapting to the inevitable effects of global warming. But that fund drew only three years’ worth of financial commitments from donor countries, for a total of $30 billion that will be drained by year’s end.
The larger promise made by rich countries in Copenhagen in 2009 to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 is not going to happen. The $100 billion figure must not be an empty promise nor the Green Climate Fund an empty bank account.
The two-decade-old U.N. talks have not fulfilled their main purpose: reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are warming the planet. The goal is to keep the global temperature rise under 2 degrees C (3.6 F), compared to pre-industrial times. Efforts taken so far to rein in emissions, reduce deforestation and promote clean technology are not getting the job done. A recent projection by the World Bank showed temperatures are expected to increase by up to 4 degrees C (7.2 F) by 2100.
This year marks the end of the first commitment period of the 1997 Kyoto protocol. But it was never ratified by the US, contains no obligations for developing countries and has been abandoned by others. Kyoto will limp on, as the EU and some developing countries want it, but without an effective new treaty there will be no global resolve to tackle emissions. The United States rejected Kyoto because it didn’t impose any binding commitments on major developing countries such as India and China, which is now the world’s No. 1 carbon emitter. (The Miami Herald, 11/26/2012, Metro News, 11/25/2012, The Guardian, 11/25/2012)