Will discuss US’ concerns on Paris deal: UNFCCC official

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New Delhi, Sep 1 (IANS) Ahead of the COP23 this November, where progress on the Paris Agreement to fight climate change is to be tracked, an UNFCCC official said that there will be dialogue with the US, which has announced it was pulling out of the landmark pact, and its concerns be heard.

“We hope (that they would stay), though this is beyond our control, we will engage with them and see what are their concerns and how we can support them as well,” Daniele Violetti, Chief of Staff, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told IANS here.

US President Donald Trump in June announced pulling out of the Paris accord as it disadvantages the US to the exclusive betterment of other countries. The US withdrawal could leave climate finance bleeding, especially in the post 2020 scenario where developed countries are required to raise $100 billion annually to help the developing world cope with climate change.

Pointing out that the US is still a party to the convention and that a US delegation will be coming to Germany’s Bonn – the COP23 venue, Violetti said that the UNFCCC is happy to engage and that they will continue doing so.

“We always said that we want to continue to engage with the US administration until there is a clear timeline for them to leave… if this is the decision, they want to pursue,” he said on the sidelines of third Business-Climate Summit 2017.

The biggest global polluter, America accounts for 17 per cent of the global emissions — the biggest chunk after China. With its decision to quit, the US joins Nicaragua and Syria as the only other non-participants to the accord.

The Paris Climate Agreement, inked by 195 nations in 2015, aims to keep global warming level well below 2 degrees Celsius and aspires to restrict it to 1.5 degrees.

The US may, however, have no obligation towards its commitment of cutting its emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2025 as set in its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

About the pressure on UNFCCC, especially with developing countries like India repeatedly reminding it of the post and pre 2020 obligations of financial and technical support from the developed world, Violetti said he does not see finance as a challenge.

“It is not a challenge in the sense that this is our agreement and it’s there, so nothing has changed. We have legitimate expectations for post 2020 scenario.

“But times can be challenging and we know the reality of the world,” he said, adding $100 billion is not a big amount at all. “It’s not a big amount, we are looking at trillions for the transformation.”

India in 2015 alone estimated at least $2.5 trillion at the then current prices to implement all its plans till 2030 as pledged in its NDCs.

Technically, the US cannot pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, which came into force on November 4, 2016, till November 4, 2020, as per the UN rules.

Being the largest emitter historically, the US had the obligation to contribute the largest share of $100 billion per annum climate finance to help developing nations cut their emissions from 2020 onwards — something it is expected to turn down.

–IANS

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