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Dhaka Tribune

Time extended for a new global climate agreement

Update : 11 Dec 2015, 07:13 PM

Global leaders have failed to reach a common understanding on different issues including finance flow and preferential treatment for the vulnerable countries forcing them to extend the time of Conference of Parties (COP) 21 until today.

So far the leaders have agreed to contain the long-term temperature goal between 1.5°C and 2°C.

Finally, yesterday COP President Laurent Fabius declared that he would deliver the final draft of the Paris agreement at 9am today as the parties still had some issues unresolved.

Dr Saleemul Huq, an adviser of the LDCs’ negotiation group at the UNFCCC, said that the issues were supposed to be resolved at the ministerial meeting by yesterday.

The French president will talk to different developed countries’ head of states including the USA, Canada, Japan and the EU to resolve the issues.

Later, the agreement will be sent to the United Nations where the parties will adopt the agreement.

According to the draft agreement, the parties decided to adopt the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and they requested the UN secretary-general to be the Depositary of the Agreement and to have it open for signature in New York, USA, from 22 April 2016 to 21 April 2017.

COP21 started on November 30 at Le Bourget in Paris and it was supposed to produce a legally-binding agreement by yesterday.

The unresolved issues

The major issue at the meeting that has still remained unresolved is finance.

The developed countries who are mainly responsible for global warming, has been trying to push the private sectors including financial institutions as the financial source which will be mostly co-financing, loan and credit, in the finance mechanism.

Moreover, still there is no directive about the fate or required fund mobilisation for the Adaptation Fund and the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF); or whether both will be merged with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in future is also not clear.

The latest draft still contains different wording about how ambitious the funding aim should be, as the latest draft reads: “The parties also decided that a significant share of new multilateral funding for climate change actions should flow through the Financial Mechanism of the Convention and the funds serving the Agreement.”

Mohammad Zakir Hossian Khan, senior manager (Climate Finance Management) of Transparency International Bangladesh, said it indicates that in the name of climate finance a significant portion of funds would be concessional loans that would be mobilised by multinational development banks such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and other financial institutions.   

Developing countries are insisting on getting a clear direction in the agreement about the funding which they might receive to help reduce emissions and cope with locked-in climate change.

Long-term temperature goal

One of the major issues – the long-term temperature goals – has already been fixed between 1.5°C and 2°C by the end of the century.

Saleemul Huq, who is also the director of International Centre for Climate Change and Development, told the Dhaka Tribune that there is still a chance to fix a single figure on the long-term temperature goal.

However, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), said: “The formulation we have right now, limiting warming between 1.5°C and 2°C, is in line with the IPCC and the latest science.”

Warming up to 1.5°C would be safe for small island states and the least developed countries, but it means getting to zero emissions globally by 2050 will have a fair chance of achieving this goal, he added.

Loss and Damage

There is a provision in the draft agreement but it was unclear how the mechanism will work with proper identification of the displaced or climate-migrant people.

The provision of Loss and Damage could not ensure the additional funding/resources – grant or concessional loans – to rehabilitate climate-induced displaced people, said Zakir Khan.

Eventually, such kind of vague words would create scope for insurance business of the private sector in near future with the vulnerability of climate vulnerable people. 

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