Consensus may elude Copenhagen summit

Climate change: Ball in the court of rich nations


 “At least $ 10 billion should be on table to get the action moving. But nobody (read industrialised nations) was making any commitment due to recession,” Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said here.

But at the same time, Copenhagen summit could be the most opportune time because Obama administration would be busy with mid-term election in 2010 and might not be able to devote enough attention on the climate change.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a climate change conference, Boer listed out four specific but cross-linked objectives for the Copenhagen summit.

The first and foremost has to be the exemplary leadership role of the rich nations by agreeing to “deep and ambitious” cuts.

‘Limit emission’

But the developing world, on their part must agree to limit their growth of emission.
Thirdly, there has to be significant financial package on mitigation and adaptation to help the developing nations. While the immediate need is about $ 10 billion every year, developing world in the long run (by 2020 or 2030) may require $ 200 billion every year for adaptation and another $ 100 billion for mitigation. But since long-term promises from politicians – when they may not be in power – are commonplace, the UNFCCC at Copenhagen will stress on extracting definitive short term commitments to get the ball rolling.

“The ball is in the court of industrialised nations,” he said, adding that nations have to take political decisions.

Assuming that hectic parleys finally bear some fruits, the fourth objective of the summit would be to set up an international mechanism to manage the fund.

A secure and universally-acceptable distribution formula has to be arrived at.

Indifference

While the developed world want actions on the part of India and China – need not necessarily be mandatory emission cuts – the developing world is “hugely frustrated” with the rich because of not receiving responses from the developed world even after putting forward detailed plans on technology and finance more than a year ago.

Incidentally the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on Wednesday showed that greenhouse gas emissions of 40 industrialised countries that have reduction obligations under the Kyoto Protocol have increased by three per cent between 2000 and 2007.

Their emission level is nowhere near the base level at 1990. “The continuing growth of emissions from industrialised countries remains worrying. The 2007 numbers underscore, the urgent need to seal a comprehensive, fair and effective deal in Copenhagen,” he added.

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