Equity in danger as balanced outcome is the buzzword

While the Philippines is dealing with its 16th extreme climate event of the year, and the U.S is looking at a demand of $83 billion from three states to repair the damage of super storm Sandy, developed countries in Doha are unwilling to make long-term commitments on finance or agree to the principle of equity in the climate change discourse.

As negotiations over the text of the long-term cooperative action and the stumbling blocks of finance and other issues are being dealt with in little spin off groups, the outcome at Doha will rest on a framework hammered out in the remaining few days to ensure the Kyoto Protocol (KP) stays alive and there is enough money committed for addressing climate change impacts.

While India and China are determined to push for equity, finances and technology transfer along with the group of 77 there are already differences in other groups over equity principles. Pa Ousman Jarju of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), from Gambia, said that it was not the length of the period of commitment but the ambition that was important. If the LDCs supported five years of commitment to the second phase of KP it was because of the overall low ambitions. However, he said while the equity debate was important “we cannot use the equity principle to derail the process. It cannot become the basis for inaction.” But he was quite clear that some financial commitment must be made by the developed world before the end of the conference.

Ronny Jumeau of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) said at a media discussion that the “Doha caravan is lost in a sandstorm.” There is nothing moving on ambition to reduce emissions. While the AOSIS wanted a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol of five to eight years, there was no sufficient robust ambition from developed countries.

Finance, the core issue

The U.S. and the EU are differing on the principle of equity or to commit anything in terms of long term finance. Platitudes are being uttered by developed country negotiators on how the countries needed to do more to address climate change and how they were committed to long term finance.

R.R. Rashmi, chief Indian negotiator, said that while there was a general sense of agreement over equity, there was some discomfort to articulate it as an operational principle.

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