As the first week of the UN climate talks draws to a close, the initial despair has turned to optimism but there is still a long way to go in terms of finalising key elements for contributions from countries or a draft agreement for Lima.
Saleemul Huq, the director of the International Centre for Climate Change & Development (ICCCAD), told The Hindu on Friday that the first week of the climate talks have a typical pattern - nothing gets done and the easiest thing for negotiators is to pass it on to the ministers. The high-level segment begins next week.
Even on simple issues, for instance on the composition of the Warsaw Mechanism on loss and damage, there is a difference of opinion on how the committee should be constituted and typically everything is kept in abeyance till the high level segment as the horse trading for the final agreement can only be done by politicians, he said.
However, he felt there was a positive momentum to the talks and there is an interest in an agreement. The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) allow countries to present their targets but the key word between Lima and Paris next year to judge the success of how this works is ‘adequacy’, he pointed out.
The questions to ask are the targets of each country adequate and are there enough funds. “Everybody needs to do more,” he said, and more than agreements on specific texts, “we need more positive momentum on action.” Countries can do a lot more and the question of whether adaptation should be part of the INDCs is not mandatory, though the mitigation aspect is mandatory, he added.
Everything has to be looked through the lens of adequacy, he said and there are many things happening outside the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UN catalyses the process and the big difference between Copenhagen in 2009 and Lima countries are doing a lot more for climate change. “Countries are also learning by doing and generating a virtuous cycle of change, for instance in Bangladesh three million households are powered with solar energy, it’s a good thing to do,” he explained.
The Indian government too expressed satisfaction with the progress in talks so far. Its a work in progress, said Susheel Kumar, interim head of the Indian delegation. " We are quite hopeful that Lima will be more non partisan and keeping in mind the global divide, it is time such a non partisan view emerges. If this view doesn't get formed in Lima we don't have much time. Hereafter we just need to polish the text.. The skeleton has to be finalised and fleshed out over next year."
The European Union too felt there was note of determined optimism to the talks and key parties were keen to advance the negotiations.
Elena Bardram of the EU said it hasn’t been all smooth sailing and real life negotiations seldom are but there is a lot of progress in the working method and it has provided assurance to parties.