• Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018
  • Last Update : 01:40 am

Nations round on US, allies as UN climate talks wrap up

  • Published at 07:09 pm September 9th, 2018
THAILAND-UN-ENVIRONMENT-PROTEST
Environmental activists display placards during a demonstration in front of the United Nations building, where experts from across the planet locked in key talks aimed at breathing life into the Paris Agreement on climate change, in Bangkok on September 8, 2018 AFP

The US and other developed economies want less oversight on how their funding is gathered and more flexibility over how future finance is structured

Developing countries rounded on the United States and its allies at emergency climate talks Sunday, accusing the world's richest nations of stalling a deal aimed at preventing runaway global warming.

Experts from around the world wrapped up discussions in Bangkok geared towards creating a comprehensive rulebook for countries to implement the landmark Paris Accord on climate change.

But talks foundered over the key issue of how efforts to limit climate change are funded and how contributions are reported.

Delegates representing some of Earth's poorest and smallest nations said on the final day of the summit that the US and other Western economies had failed to live up to their green spending commitments.

"Developed countries are responsible for the vast majority of historic emissions, and many became remarkably wealthy burning fossil fuels," said Amjad Abdulla, the head of a negotiating bloc of small island states.

"Yet, we face devastating climate impacts and some of us could be lost forever to rising seas" without progress on the Paris deal by the end of the year, he added.

The Paris deal, struck in 2015, aims to limit global temperature rises to less than 2°C and to below 1.5°C if possible by the end of the century.

To do this, countries agreed to a set of promises, including to establish an annual $100-billion fund to help developing nations react to our heating planet.

But the details of the final rulebook are subject to intense debate.

The US and other developed economies want less oversight on how their funding is gathered and more flexibility over how future finance is structured.

But developing nations insist they need predictable and open funding in order to effectively plan their fight against the fallout from climate change.

Delegates ended talks Sunday with an agreement to hand over technical discussions to a panel of experts, who will continue to meet before the COP 24 kicks off in Katowice, Poland, at the start of December.

Paris deal 'on brink'

The Bangkok talks were organised as an emergency negotiating session after little progress was made at previous rounds towards a final rulebook.

Under the timeframe set in Paris, the guidelines for nations must be finalised by the end of 2018.

While delegates made some headway on areas such as new technology and carbon markets, activists said the US - with Western acquiescence  - had stonewalled any momentum on the key funding issue.

Harjeet Singh, global lead on climate change for NGO ActionAid, said Sunday the Paris deal was "on the brink."

"Developed countries are going back on their word and refusing to agree clear rules governing climate finance," he told reporters.

"If they remain stuck in their positions and fail to loosen their purses, this treaty may collapse."