A weak Warsaw mechanism on Loss and Damage almost final

November 22, 2013 10:37 pm | Updated May 26, 2016 08:42 am IST - Warsaw:

The U.N. climate negotiations went into overtime with most contentious issues for this year being discussed between gathered ministers. By Friday evening the only breakthrough, a partial one, was on the creation of a mechanism to address loss and damage from climate change.

The ministers decided that a Warsaw Mechanism on Loss and Damage would be agreed to and that it would be housed under the Conference of Parties. The part about deciding how this mechanism would get the funds in future remained the only unresolved piece of the puzzle.

Placing the mechanism under the Conference of Parties is a compromise for both the U.S. and the G77+ China group. Conference of Parties refers to the highest and most empowered body of the UN convention where each country is represented. The COP is empowered to make the most fundamental and critical decisions that lesser bodies are not. But housing the Warsaw Loss and Damage mechanism under the COP leaves the window open of shifting it one way or the other in next couple of years.

U.S. wanted that the mechanism should not become an independent body and be placed under the existing Adaptation body. This would have ensured that the idea of compensation, reparation and guilt of the developed countries for being the largest emitters of accumulated greenhouse gases is done away with. The G77+ China group wanted just the opposite.

At the end the compromise has ensured that while a channel of funding would be made available to address loss and damage, the wordings that the U.S. had a problem with has been dropped entirely.

The issue of finance and building the new agreement under the existing principles of the convention remained open though sources in the G77+China explained that not much could be expected out of the finance stream. They said, almost all developed countries had made clear that there was no hope of them committing either to a timeline for delivery of promised funds at Warsaw. “They are clear they have not come with the mandate to give any timeline on finance here. But they are pushing that we draw a timeline and a review system for future pledges of emission reduction. These pledges had to be enabled by finance and technology from the rich world under the existing decisions. But, they want to break this linkage and the firewall between developed and developing country parties,” said a negotiator from a country which comes under the G77+China umbrella.

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