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The heads of both delegations to the crucial UN’s 19th Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) in the Polish capital Warsaw told the media that wealthier nations should present a plan on how they would cut carbon emissions and cover the economic costs of stricter environmental policies in their countries before they ask the same of developing and poorer nations.
The UN has been pushing industrialised nations, emerging economies and developing countries to move toward a global climate change agreement that sufficiently reduces carbon emissions to offset increase in the Earth’s temperature by the end of the century; increases financing for developing nations to work toward effecting environment-friendly policies; addresses issues of loss and damage as a result of any policy change; and creates a road map that will see a concrete agenda by 2015.
Indian Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan and Chinese delegation head Xie Zhenhua told a news briefing Thursday that they wanted to first see details of the developed nations’ mitigation pledges.
Other developing nations have urged that loss and damage (L&D) associated with the adverse effects of climate change in their countries be addressed.
“We would like to know where we stand,” Natarajan said
“They [developed nations] need to fulfill these commitments. They have to provide a timetable and also the size of their contribution. They should have a very clear signal to society,” Xie added.
Their positions highlighted a growing divide during already tense climate change talks between rich and poor nations. Wealthier nations such as Australia, Canada, Japan, the EU and the US want to see global action, with all 195 nations represented at the UNFCCC committing to emissions targets.
On Wednesday, leading environmental groups – including WWF, OXFAM, Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth Europe – walked out of the UNFCCC, citing lack of action from wealthy governments to tackle critical issues.
“The Warsaw Climate Conference, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing. In fact, the actions of many rich countries here in Warsaw are directly undermining the UNFCCC itself, which is an important multilateral process that must succeed if we are to fix the global climate crisis,” they said in a joint statement.
Shortly after, some 133 developing and poor nations – known as the G77 + China – walked out of the conference saying that the costs they were asked to pay for environmental reform were much too high and that they were receiving far too little international support for L&D.
BRICS members Brazil, India, China and South Africa supported the G77 + China walkout.
India’s Natarajan said that the L&D draft had been too weak and presented no clear commitment to assist developing nations.
“We totally agree with the G-77 position. This [draft] is not something that we can accept. We are part of the G-77,” Natarajan said.
The UNFCCC ends on Friday.