Loss and damage finance is at the center of the climate talks, while an Indian proposal is also under threat

The climate change conference was deadlocked on Thursday night over the creation of a new fund to assist countries suffering from climate disasters. On a few occasions, the two-week conference has extended until Sunday morning during previous editions, ending on Friday evening.

There were also reservations from China and some other developing countries regarding an Indian proposal to phase out all fossil fuels.

It is worth noting that the main fight was over the establishment of a new loss and damage finance facility, which has received the most attention at this meeting. The developed countries, including the United States, are opposed to the creation of new infrastructure in order to handle loss and damage. According to the EU’s climate chief Frans Timmermans, existing instruments would provide immediate funding for loss and damage, while the creation of a new facility would require a considerable amount of time.

Over 100 developing countries are represented in the G-77 and China group, which is the largest negotiating bloc at this conference. The G-77 and China group insists on a dedicated finance facility as a key to success. A statement of intent to create the new facility is all that the developing countries are asking for, according to Pakistan, the current chair of the G77 plus China group.

“We understand that it will take some time for this to be set up, operationalized, and for the money to flow into it. However, it is very important. It is only a political statement that we are seeking here. Nabeel Munir, Pakistan’s ambassador to South Korea and a delegate here, explained that even that much was not acceptable.

It is important to understand that loss and damage is not about charity. It is not our intention to receive handouts. “Climate justice means compensating for losses and damages.” he said.

There is more to the dispute than a new financing facility. The issue of who should be compensated for loss and damage, as well as who all must contribute to its repair, is subject to strong disagreements. Major economies such as China and India are also being sought as contributors to the fund by the developed countries, including the United States and the European Union.

“In terms of economic position, we should consider the world today rather than what it was in the 1990s. It is no longer possible to divide the world into developed and developing countries. The problem is far more complex than that, and that needs to be reflected here,” Timmermans said.

In order to resolve the differences and reach a compromise, the negotiators must work through the night.

In the early hours of the morning, the COP27 presidency released a ‘non-paper’, a set of informal proposals and provisions that were considered to be the most significant elements of the final statement.

It should be noted that the 20-page ‘non-paper’ did not make any mention of the Indian proposal calling for the phase-down of all fossil fuels. According to the Indian government, it will ensure that its concerns are adequately addressed in the final outcome. However, several countries in the G-77 plus China group did not support the proposal very enthusiastically.

Interestingly, the BASIC countries, comprising India, China, South Africa, and Brazil, did not mention the Indian proposal in their joint statement on Wednesday morning. While developed countries, such as the United States and the European Union, initially hesitated to support the Indian proposal, they eventually decided to do so.

During an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday, US climate envoy John Kerry stated that the US would support it as long as it focused on reducing the unabated use of oil and gas.

There must be unabated oil and gas production. A gradual phase-down will occur over time, unabated. It is unclear when the phase-down will take place, but ‘phase-down’ is the language we agreed with,” Kerry was quoted as saying.

In the final agreement that was reached at the Glasgow conference last year, the developed countries sought a reference to a “phase-out” of coal, but this was changed at the last minute to a “phase-down”, upon India’s insistence. It was argued by India this year that one energy source cannot be blamed for global warming since science has established that fossil fuels are responsible for global warming in general.

© The Deccan Era (P) Ltd

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