Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bangladesh's climate compensation push a ray of light after dismal Doha

John Vidal in the "Povertymatters" blog at the Guardian (UK): The dust settles, the delegates have recovered from their marathon talks and the full significance of the Doha climate round can be assessed. Clearly, it was an extraordinarily weak result – no new money was put on the table, no new commitments made to cut emissions and there is no certainty the key 2015 agreement will be any stronger.

But despite little evidence of the spirit of international co-operation, there were important decisions made for developing countries. The most significant and symbolic was extending the Kyoto protocol for a second period. This brought to a close years of attempts, led by the US, to ditch it. Kyoto survives, weaker because Russia, Japan and New Zealand have decided not to join in the second period and Canada has left completely, but important because it remains the only treaty that forces rich countries to cut emissions. The 36 countries still in represent only 15% of emissions – but the principle it enshrines of the rich being legally bound holds.

Finance, as so often, was the biggest disappointment. Britain, France, Germany and a few others pledged $6bn to fill the gap between the imminent end of the "fast start" finance and 2020, when the green climate fund supposedly kicks in, but the reality is that developing countries have little or nothing to help them adapt.

But one landmark agreement changes all future climate politics and takes countries into a new era. Countries agreed to the principle of "loss and damage", to help victims of climate change. The door is now at least half open for countries to be recompensed for slow onset events such as rising sea levels, continual droughts and storms...

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