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article imageClimate talks go into overtime as rich and poor disagree

By Karen Graham     Dec 13, 2014 in Environment
Lima - UN climate talks in Lima, Peru went into an unscheduled 13th day on Saturday as delegates attempted to soothe some ruffled feathers created by a rift between rich and poor countries over who is more responsible for climate change.
Delegates are considering a draft agreement that environmental groups say fails to define the financial responsibilities that countries are expected to accept at the 2015 Paris climate summit. As it stands now, delegates attending the Lima meeting will spend Saturday looking at a compromise that would calm those countries upset about who will bear responsibility in fighting climate change.
The basic problem seems to be that rich countries, like the U.S. are insisting that the pledges being made are for focusing on controlling emissions of carbon dioxide, along with other greenhouse gasses. They don't want to include promises of financial help to poorer countries in absorbing the effects of climate change. The U.N. environment agency has estimated this financial burden will amount to at least $200 billion annually by 2050.
The Daily Mail says that Bolivia's chief negotiator, Rene Orellana has accused rich countries, including the United States, of "an attitude of shirking the responsibility of the provision of finance" and the sharing of technology with poorer countries. China's delegates was opposed to a review process included in the agreement that would allow a country's pledge to be compared against other countries before the Paris meeting in 3015.
This reluctance shown by the U.S. and other countries in accepting the agreement has angered countries "on the front lines" of climate change. "We are shocked that some of our colleagues would want to avoid a process to hold their proposed targets up to the light," said Tony de Brum, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, a country in the Pacific Ocean already being threatened with rising ocean levels.
The agreement, to be formally accepted in Paris in December, 2015, would go into affect in 2020. If the pact goes ahead, it will be the first time that all members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will come together and work toward reducing greenhouse gases. The main purpose of the agreement would be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions driving global warming so that they will not exceed two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels.
It's going to be difficult getting China and India, both developing countries, to get on the same page with the climate pact. Both countries are huge coal-users. Their extravagance in using coal to fuel their growing economies is a big concern with many of the poorer countries and environmentalists alike, wondering who will foot the majority of the financial responsibilities for the reduction of emissions.
In looking at the agreement as it now stands, Asad Rehman of Friends of the Earth said,
"There would be essentially no outcome for people and the planet. It would be the weakest of weak political statements."
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