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Rich countries escaping obligations in Bonn climate talks

As negotiations for a new global climate deal continued in this German city, civil society organizations are concerned that the draft text is shaping up against poorer and vulnerable nations.

“It is beginning to be clear to us that developed countries are using the ‘streamlining’ process to shape an agreement that has low ambition and will not be equitable to the poor of the world, ” said Meena Raman from Third World Network.

“Our fear is that language will be cherry-picked to give us an agreement that allows developed countries to get away from the obligations they currently have under the climate convention, and will impose mitigation commitments on developing countries without any finance and technology transfer. We also worry about language in the text to weaken the obligations of developed countries to address adaptation and loss and damage,” she added.

“As we take stock of this first week, we have to ask ourselves what progress has been made across the board. In the streamlining process it seems there has been very little. Developed countries clearly do not want to play ball on finance – they’re happy enough to ‘streamline’ that section quite vigorously in places that don’t suit them, but a lot less willing to actually do what’s necessary in terms of mobilizing climate finance,” said Asad Rehman from Friends of the Earth England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

“We can see this lack of seriousness regarding finance not only in the textual discussions but also in the other workstream. Experts in the technical meetings are telling us that the scale of finance needed for renewables is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. We have concrete solutions in clean, community-owned renewables and even the policy mechanisms on the table to transform our energy systems and bring energy to the billions without any access. Developed countries are barely delivering on their desperately inadequate promises, yet they hand over millions every day to the fossil fuel industry in the form of subsidies,” he added.

“With thousands dying in India because of the climate-related heat wave, we continue to see an alarming attitude towards the planetary crisis,” Rehman further noted. “In the review process, the major polluters in the developed world continue to fail to live up to the pledges they made a few years ago. Australia was singled out as a ‘climate change freerider’ for managing less than a shocking 5% reductions by 2020. This is criminal.”

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