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Ministers talk finance, seek to bolster climate pact

07 september 2015, 15:40
0

Ministers and diplomats from 57 countries gathered in Paris Sunday to discuss the make-or-break issue of finance in a climate rescue deal to be sealed in the French capital in December, AFP reports.

The two-day huddle of foreign and environment ministers and senior officials is not part of official negotiations for the highly-anticipated agreement, but is meant to inject political momentum into the fraught UN process.

"We have less than three months before the Paris meeting," French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius, who will preside over the year-end conference, told colleagues as he opened Sunday's meeting.

"We should take full advantage of each time that we meet... The success of Paris will be built ahead of time. We cannot expect some sort of miraculous solution to appear during the final hours of the Paris conference."

On Friday, a five-day round of official text-drafting talks closed in Bonn with negotiators expressing frustration at their own lagging progress.

They turned to the joint chairmen of the UN forum for help, asking them to edit the unwieldy blueprint for an agreement into a more manageable format before the next, and final, pre-Paris negotiating round in Bonn from October 19 to 23.

The pact will be the first to commit all the world's nations to cutting climate-altering greenhouse gases in a bid to limit average warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

But there are fundamental disagreements on how to share out emissions cuts between rich nations, which have polluted longer, and emerging giants such as China and India now powering fast-growing economies and populations.

Poor nations seek developed-country commitments of financial and technological aid for their shift to greener energy and adapting to a new, climate-altered world.

  Trying to find compromise 

They also want a mechanism that will pay for unavoidable climate change-induced losses and damages.

Finance, technology transfers, money for climate adaptation and "loss and damage" are all on the agenda for the informal two-day Paris meeting.

"Our goal is to look at topics that will enable us to facilitate the negotiations," said Fabius, while stressing the ministerial meeting was not mean to replace the formal process but "support" it.

"We're trying to put our finger on those compromises that will form the basis of the formal document."

Observers and participants in the pact-drafting exercise are hopeful that a string of climate-themed meetings in the coming weeks and months will boost the bureaucratic UN process, which has bogged down in fights over procedure and ideology.

Ministers met in a similar informal round in Paris in July; their finance colleagues are to gather for a joint International Monetary Fund-World Bank meeting in Lima in October; and heads of state and government will talk climate on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly in New York later this month.

"We should bring to the table, to the discussion, a very strong political signal around climate finance," said Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar Vidal, who presided over last year's climate conference -- referring to the $100 billion (90 billion euros) per year that rich nations had committed in 2009 to make available from 2020.

"We should assure a very clear and credible trajectory of the climate finance."


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