CoP19, Warsaw: India loses momentum at Warsaw | Centre for Science and Environment

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CoP19, Warsaw: India loses momentum at Warsaw

 Will have to go back to the drawing board to reclaim its space in climate talks, says CSE analysis of just concluded CoP19

> Developing countries gain little out of the climate talks in Warsaw. Negotiations had dragged on beyond November 22nd, the closing day of the CoP

> Differentiation between developed and developing countries further diluted. Some developed countries go back on their emissions reduction commitments

> Without any clarity on finance for loss and damage, Warsaw ends up with a hollow loss and damage mechanism. This is a priority area for developing countries given   the     compelling impacts of climate change

> No clarity on finance by developed countries to assist developing countries in mitigation and adaptation. Long-term finance continues to remain an empty shell

>India needs to go back to the drawing board and work on a strategy for future climate talks

New Delhi, November 25, 2013:

The key expectations out of the recently concluded Warsaw climate talks were three-fold. One, to agree on a timeline towards the 2015 agreement and a draft negotiating text to that effect; two, to institutionalise a mechanism on loss and damage as agreed in the climate talks held in 2012 at Doha; and three, gain clarity on climate finance by developed countries. But developing countries lost out on all the three fronts.

“On the first day of the climate talks, the Philippines made an impassionate speech about typhoon Haiyan. Negotiators observed silence and some delegates joined their Filipino counterpart in shedding tears. That done, it was back to business as usual,” says Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). In this business-as-usual scenario, developed countries won hands down. So, what did developing countries lose?

Differentiation between developed and developing countries diluted

At Warsaw, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) between the developed and developing countries has been further diluted. Under the Ad-hoc Working Group on Durban Platform (ADP), all countries, including the developing countries, will now have to submit nationally determined contributions to tackle climate change. But there is no mention that the contributions will be based on CBDR or equity.

Developed countries go back on their emissions reduction commitments

Developed countries reneged on their emissions reduction commitments made under the Cancun Agreement. Japan had agreed to reduce emissions by 25 per cent by 2020 relative to 1990 levels. But at Warsaw it announced that it would reduce its emissions by 3.8 per cent from its 2005 level by 2020. This is an increase of 3.1 per cent over the 1990 levels. Then, from lowering 25 per cent emissions with respect to 2000 levels by 2020, Australia said it would reduce emissions by only 5 per cent by 2020.

The European Union (EU) had agreed to reduce its emissions by 20-30 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. It has already met the 20 per cent target, but is not willing to raise its target. The US, as usual, has decided to not do much and keep its target of reducing emissions between 0-3 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.

“Such actions by developed countries clearly indicate that they want to do as little as possible domestically. Instead, they are shifting the burden of reducing emissions on to the developing countries. They are doing this by cleverly removing the differentiation and principles of the convention from the ADP negotiations,” says Bhushan.

A hollow loss and damage mechanism

At Warsaw, an international mechanism on loss and damage has been set up which was one of the key demands of the developing countries. But the loss and damage mechanism has not been set up as an independent mechanism and there is little clarity on its exact scope. Furthermore, it is not clear where the money will come from for the establishment that is now being called ‘Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage.’

Finance: Coffers empty and peanuts thrown around

The Green Climate Fund, established to coordinate climate finance, has little money in it. The developed countries’ promise of delivering US $100 billion per year by 2020 remains a distant dream. No timeline could be agreed upon at Warsaw. The call from developing countries to give US $70 billion by 2016 was ignored. Instead, a trivial sum of US $100 million for the Adaptation Fund was all that the developed countries could promise at Warsaw. 

India, the champion of equity, loses

In the last 20 years of climate negotiations, India has steadfastly promoted the concept of equity and CBDR. In Durban in 2011, because of India, equity was brought back as an important principle in climate negotiations. However, in Warsaw, India was unable to defend its position on equity and in many quarters was seen anti-equity. This was largely because India opposed a process to operationalise equity. Such stands have made India look defensive at climate talks. To reverse this, India will have to go back to the drawing board and reassess how it wants to play a strong role in the climate talks.

India will also have to come up with some kind of a workable formulation of equity and put it on the table. It is agreed that all countries will take action to combat climate change under the post-2020 deal, and it is a fact that together, the developing countries are doing more than their developed country counterparts to achieve this end.

“Given the development needs of the country, India must think of ways to secure its legitimate carbon space as well as move towards a low carbon growth strategy,” says Bhushan.

For more on this, please contact Souparno Banerjee at 9910864339.

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  Warsaw: Delhi (for Media)
  Uthra Radhakrishnan Papia Samajdar
  Email: Email:
  Phone: +48507152543 Phone: +91 9811906977
  Chandra Bhushan  
  Skype ID: csechandra  




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