Poor countries walk out of UN climate talks as compensation row rumbles on

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/nov/20/climate-talks-walk-out-compensation-un-warsaw

Bloc of 132 countries exit Warsaw conference after rich nations refuse to discuss climate change recompense until after 2015

theguardian.com, Wednesday 20 November 2013

Representatives of most of the world’s poor countries have walked out of increasingly fractious climate negotiations after the EU, Australia, the US and other developed countries insisted that the question of who should pay compensation for extreme climate events be discussed only after 2015.

The orchestrated move by the G77 and China bloc of 132 countries came during talks about “loss and damage” – how countries should respond to climate impacts that are difficult or impossible to adapt to, such as typhoon Haiyan.

Saleemul Huq, the scientist whose work on loss and damage helped put the issue of recompense on the conference agenda, said: “Discussions were going well in a spirit of co-operation, but at the end of the session on loss and damage Australia put everything agreed into brackets, so the whole debate went to waste.”

Australia was accused of not taking the negotiations seriously. “They wore T-shirts and gorged on snacks throughout the negotiation. That gives some indication of the manner they are behaving in,” said a spokeswoman for Climate Action Network.

After a three hour delay in the negotiatons,while countries debated what to do in private, talks resumed. “[The walkout] helped to clear the air. They know we are serious,” said one lead negotiator, who denied developing countries were “grandstanding.”

Developing countries have demanded that a new UN institution be set up to oversee compensation but rich countries have been dismissive, blocking calls for a full debate in the climate talks.

“The EU understands that the issue is incredibly important for developing countries. But they should be careful about … creating a new institution. This is not [what] this process needs,” said Connie Hedegaard, EU climate commissioner.

She ruled out their most important demand, insisting: “We cannot have a system where we have automatic compensation when severe events happen around the world. That is not feasible.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/nov/20/climate-talks-walk-out-compensation-un-warsaw

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