Mind the Gap: Countries fail to agree on Climate Finance in Bangkok UN Talks

Mind the Gap: Countries fail to agree on Climate Finance in Bangkok UN Talks

Delegates discuss climate finance

Countries are still left with a worrying seven year gap from 2013 to 2020 without commitments on finance to help countries adapt to the impacts of climate change, or to reduce emissions.

Fast Start Finance was the initial package announced in Copenhagen to provide $30Bn in climate finance from 2010-2012. In Durban, countries committed to agree on a new treaty to be implemented by 2020. It is unclear when the new Green Climate Fund will kick in.

At the Bangkok talks yesterday, the US tried to reassure countries that they are working hard, yet said that any target for “mid-term finance” is “not something we can do”.

Frustratingly, the US delegate (Paul) said that this was something that “would have had to be brought up at the beginning”.

Need for dialogue with the Green Climate Fund:

Parties pointed out the Green Climate Fund is accountable to the COP (Conference of Parties). Columbia called for a clear process for all Parties to have a dialogue with the new ‘Green Climate Fund’, and Philippines called for “coherent and consistent” parameters – like those used by the GEF (Global Environment Facility).

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia (who constantly disrupt the talks) was against this, claiming the GEF lacks capacity.

The future of Long-term Cooperative Action?

The working group on Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA) was given the mandate in Bali 2007 to work until an “agreed outcome” was reached. However, this work was only extended in Durban for one year. The US now seems unwilling to extend the LCA.

Developing countries like Columbia and Bangladesh argue there is still a lot to discuss and want it to be extended. Bangladesh highlighted on Monday that funds have not yet come through for the National Adaptation Plans, and regional adaptation networks also have yet to appear.

On Monday, United States said these type of concerns did not need to be discussed since this would “pre-empt the adaptation committee” next week. Yet the next day, the US themselves seemed to ‘pre-empt’ the discussion over the LCA’s future, saying: “we are in the process of closing up the LCA”.

Developing countries are obviously concerned that the LCA should not be closed until the outstanding issues are put on the table elsewhere.


No text on the table:

Since this was an informal session, it meant that parties could not put official text on the table, and developed countries seemed unwilling to discuss informal text either.

On Tuesday, Philippines strongly called for direct access for developing countries to resources, to enable equitable allocation, and balance between adaptation and mitigation. They said it was “not an option to have no text”.

Once again, the climate talks have been extremely frustrating. Bolivia called on Monday for the parties to “get to the substance” but progress has been painstakingly slow.

Developed countries, blinded by their own short-term problems, seem to be unwilling to discuss finance, let alone agree on the financial means to tackle climate change. In Doha (COP19), these countries must commit to medium-term targets for finance, or risk undermining trust in the whole regime.

Meanwhile, the world hurtles towards 3 degrees of warming, or perhaps more…