UN Climate Talks Roundup: Nations Demand Compensation, Investment Falls Short

by | Dec 5, 2012

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Climate change compensation has emerged as a major issue of the UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar, the Guardian reports, with rich countries like the US and Europe opposing the idea that they should pay developing counties for “loss and damage” in vulnerable areas caused by climate change.

The concept comes from an agreement that came out of the 2010 Cancún, Mexico talks in which all countries agreed to “to reduce loss and damage associated with climate change,” the newspaper writes. Now, some 100 developing countries led by the Alliance of Small Island States, the Least Developed Countries block and the African Group of Nations are using this “loss and damage” clause to demand compensation.

Meanwhile, yesterday at the summit, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey announced a series of new projects totaling £150 million ($241.4 million) to help developing countries address climate change. This includes £98 million to help finance 270MW of new renewable energy capacity in Africa, and £21 million to fund a World Bank program to improve water resource management for 18 million people.

Davey also announced that by the end of this month, the UK will deliver the £1.5 billion it pledged at the 2009 Copenhagen climate change talks to help developing countries curb climate change. He said the UK is committed to delivering its fair share of the UN’s climate finance goal of $100 billion per year by 2020.

A day earlier, the Climate Policy Initiative released a report that says the $364 billion spent in 2010-11 to curb climate change falls short of the $1 trillion needed each year to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by 2050. According to The Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2012, the private sector was the main source of global climate finance, contributing between $217 and $243 billion, mostly from corporations and renewable energy project developers. Public sector investment totaled between $16 and $23 billion globally.

A report tracking climate action released last week gave major emitters China, the US, the EU and Russia “inadequate” ratings for their plans to limit global warming to the 2 degrees Celsuis mark and said the world is headed for a warming of about 3.3 degrees Celsius.

Another report released in Doha by the World Energy Council urges governments to design long-term energy policies, enable market conditions that attract long-term investments and encourage research and development in energy technology. It also says developed countries such as Sweden, Switzerland and Canada are the closest to achieving sustainable energy systems (see chart). Neither the US nor the UK make the top 10 list.

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