Negotiations at UN climate summit still on; India seems confident

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Katowice (Poland), Dec 14 (IANS) As the COP24 climate summit draws to a close late Friday, negotiators are still grappling to agree on a significant commitment to strengthen the climate pledges of all countries by 2020, negotiators said.

“Very substantial progress has been made. There are some differences. We hope that will be sorted out,” Indian delegation head A.K. Mehta told IANS.

Expressing hope that the progress on the negotiations in on the right track, he said: “We are not far away from reaching an agreement. Negotiations are going on. It is not a question of happiness or unhappiness. It is a question of everybody working together.”

Loss and damage, he said, is very important. “It is actually important. Loss and damage are real. We will continue to work together on how to address this issue.

“The Paris rulebook would be robust. The idea to mobilise enhanced financing has been captured to some extent in the current text and also there is an encouragement to fufill the $100 billion fund (Global Climate Fund),” he added.

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India-based independent public research and advocacy think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Friday said “it is clear now that the talks are progressing towards a weak outcome”.

Deputy Director General Chandra Bhushan of the CSE, one of the observers, told IANS that on the whole, the current draft text “is weak in terms of finance and raising ambition”.

“There is no mention of raising ambition in action and support post-2020 and integrating it with science. For pre-2020, the developed countries are merely encouraged to step up their pre-2020 ambition. Loss and damage is the weakest and clearly implies that developed countries have turned a blind eye to the most existential impacts of climate change on poor and vulnerable countries,” he added.

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European Climate Foundation CEO Laurence Tubiana, who was France’s Climate Change Ambassador and Special Representative for Paris Agreement, told reporters that the loss and damage still on table.

“The reference to loss and damage has to made in the final text here. It is a reality because of the impacts we are witnessing today. I hope they will find a solution. It is important to have that reference.”

Reacting to the current COP24 text on increasing countries’ climate commitments, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe Director Wendel Trio said: “We are deeply concerned as the text in its current form would not send a strong message to drastically increase emission cuts by 2020.”

“We need a much stronger commitment, if we are to adequately respond to the landmark IPCC report and avoid the worst consequences of the climate breakdown. Two days ago, the EU took a leadership role by committing to increase its own climate target by 2020. Now it can only win by convincing all other governments to do the same.”

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The political phase of the UN Climate Change Conference or COP24 that began on December 12 with ministers and high-level country representatives from nearly 200 countries together with non-party stakeholders entered almost its last phase.

Each country was sharing its plans for the transformation of economies in line with the 2015 Paris goals.

The negotiations will culminate on late Friday, hopefully with an agreement on the Paris rulebook for transparent implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement — the first global treaty to reduce emissions by all rich and poor nations.

(Vishal Gulati is in Katowice at the invitation of Climate Trends to cover the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP24. He can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

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