Climate finance is sticky point at COP24 conclave

Katowice (Poland): Climate is emanating to be the bone of contention in the developed versus developing scrimmage at the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) being held here. On Saturday, the last day of the technical phase of negotiations, discussions on finance came to a standstill, with countries “not being able to reach consensus” on various aspects.
An analysis of the draft negotiation texts, released by the ad hoc working group on the Paris Agreement (APA) on Saturday, reflects a disagreement on both article 9.5 and 9.7 of the agreement. While article 9.5 makes it mandatory for developed countries to biennially communicate finances it will shell out to assist developing countries like India, the latter focuses on subsequent accounting of the finance provided to developing countries.

The draft text on 9.7 indicates that the developed countries are expecting the developing nations to do the same, which do not seem to agree. “Instead of agreeing to submit information on how much money will provide, the developed world is demanding developing countries to put money on the table. Developed countries are also blocking progress on how to transparently count the money they are obligated to give,” says Harjeet Singh, global lead on climate change at ActionAid International.

The draft reveals a dissent on developing world’s demand on reporting ‘the grant equivalent value’ which refers to the exact amount of money stays in a country for climate action. There have been instances when some donor countries “double-counted” the value of a development project which frustrated India and other 134 developing nations which constitute the G77 negotiating group.

What the developing countries want from COP24 is the reassurance that they will receive the money developed countries committed to provide, in order to implement the Paris Agreement at home.

Says Eddy Perez, international policy analyst at Climate Action Network, Canada, “ More grants are needed in developing countries. In the case of loans, the recipients want to know the exact information on what part of the loan is grant equivalent. This information is crucial for them to design their nationally determined contributions.”

Taking the old stance of the United Nations, the developed nations are denying to acknowledge ‘loss and damage’ as a stand-alone pillar of climate action. In every draft text of the negotiations, the developed world has refused to broach the subject.

The fifth assessment report of the United Nations intergovernmental panel on climate change’s (IPCC) warns of more climate-related catastrophe, like deadly heatwaves for India and Pakistan. Four months ago, Kerala witnessed heavy floods which killed over 400 people.

At such times, having an indicative financial support from rich nations for loss and damage becomes imperative. Adds Singh, “Helping the victims of climate change is the need of the hour but once again, the issue continues to be pushed back.”

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