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Climate change summit: Countries demand focus on adaptation and finance

The Hindu, LIMA, 5th December, 2014

 

Meena Menon 

 

The roadmap to Paris is fraught with contentious debates over the focus of contributions from countries and whether it was enough to take only mitigation seriously as developed nations are doing at the UN climate talks here.

 

From Friday onwards, countries will finalise the elements of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) and the draft negotiating text for Paris before the high level segment begins next week. The main issues that are dividing countries are centred on the excessive focus on mitigation, which is opposed by the developing countries. Mohammed Adow, senior advisor, Global Advocacy and Alliances, said the main question is if the draft texts have enough clarity on the deal to be finalised in Paris, and whether it includes a review process to examine the contributions put forward by countries and if they are falling short of globally required targets. 

 

Mr. Adow said the level of ambition was lacking among developed countries and the question is if targets put forward by countries are adequate. There is a need to ensure that adaptation is given equal weightage and there is financial commitment to help shift the development pathway.

 

Most developing countries were favouring a review process to assess contributions, though India remains totally opposed to such a process. As the debate got contentious, the co-chairs of the session were attacked for not allowing the views of countries to be heard and South Africa said that this was eroding the trust of parties. The like-minded developing countries (LMDC), which includes India and China, managed to pressure the co-chairs to set up a contact group to take the process further and discuss each of the elements of the draft text on Thursday evening.

 

Mr. Adow said the developed countries cherry-picked the issues, which suited them and were unwilling to engage with others on issues of adaptation and finance. 

 

Taryn Fransen, of the World Resources Institute, said some movement can be expected on INDCs in the lead up to Paris, but it must include a mechanism to review the targets and scale them up if necessary. 

 

India too has taken the firm position that adaptation and funding were crucial to reduce the vulnerability and risk due to the impact of climate change. It has emphasized the need for adaptation in the new agreement in a comprehensive and balanced manner. It has also demanded a long term global goal for Adaptation to be clearly articulated in qualitative and quantitative terms. Stressing on common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR), India called for enhanced support and cooperation for developing countries and for differentiating the role of parties. 

 

Meanwhile Susheel Kumar, interim head of the Indian delegation here, said the INDCs should reflect mitigation, adaptation, finances, technology and capacity building and it should be a comprehensive contribution. India was in no hurry to announce its targets and would do so when it was ready, he said. Countries which are developing can raise domestic resources but they need international finances to do much more. The problem is a mitigation centred INDC and India will not budge from its stand that mitigation alone will not suffice. He said India had already taken steps to prepare the INDCs and studies on emission intensity and development were already underway by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), iRADE and Institute of Economic Growth to chart out a low carbon path. These reports should be out in January and the environment ministry will begin a consultative process after that involving various Stake holders. 

 

He said India would be opposed to any review of its national contributions and asked if developed countries would mind an assessment of their financial commitments.

 

Mr. Kumar said a top down international mechanism would not work. China has announced that it favours a ten year commitment period for the climate agreement in Paris to be signed next year and India tends to agree.