Issue of loss and damage: G77+China issue ultimatum to developed countries

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:37 pm IST

Published - November 18, 2013 03:18 pm IST - Warsaw

Climate activists roll a giant Globe during an environmentalist march to campaign against global warming, in Warsaw, Poland on Saturday.

Climate activists roll a giant Globe during an environmentalist march to campaign against global warming, in Warsaw, Poland on Saturday.

The G77+China group delivered an ultimatum to the developed countries on the issue of Loss and Damage, threatening to walk out of the Warsaw negotiations if the developed countries did not stop blocking it. The ultimatum was delivered by the G77+China negotiator Juan Hoffmeister, who is leading the talks on the issue for the developing country block, at a closed door meeting on Saturday evening, raising the stakes higher for all just before the ministerial round of negotiations begin this week in the Polish capital.

Very rarely has any country block issued such an ultimatum at the climate talks in recent while and it is taken with extreme seriousness at such high profile events.

Countries such as Australia and Canada, which form part of the Umbrella group with the US and Japan have demanded that the climate negotiations even discuss the issue while the US itself has demanded that it the subject, which has the G77+China united in a rare show of solidarity, be subjugated as just another stream of conversation under the existing Adaptation track of the talks.

Loss and Damage refers to the demand of the developing countries, especially the small and most vulnerable ones, to be provided compensation for the losses they suffer due to existing emission levels and that any future emission reduction effort or adaptation to global warming cannot help.

The G77+China group has put forth a collective proposal on the negotiating table to set up a separate new mechanism under the UN climate talks that would to carry out this task but the US has blocked it demanding that at best it be an extremely weak arrangement that continues to just study the issue under the adaptation track where ‘compensation’ is not used as an operative term.

The talks on the issue floundered all week, leading the G77+C

Developing world’s firm ‘no’ to market-based mechanism hina coordinator Hoffmeister to up the stakes for the developed countries by warning that the developing countries would not agree to the Warsaw meeting delivering on other fronts in return for stepping down on this demand.

Rumours had swelled within the G77+China group over the weekend that the developed countries’ ministers may bring a finance package – the other key demand from the developing countries at Warsaw – and expect the former to back down on the demand for Loss and Damage mechanism. The threat of a walk out conveyed to the US and others that this could not be the case.

Hoffmeister when contacted by The Hindu refused to comment on his statement in the contact group on Satuday.

Another G77+China negotiator who deals closely with the Loss and Damage issue, wishing to remain anonymous, said, “This has to be a deliverable at Warsaw. There are no two ways about it. We had to convey that.” When asked if the G77+China group would come true on its ultimatum if the developed countries continued to block the mechanism, he said, “These things are not said lightly, but we are sure our partners will see this as a legitimate demand of the vulnerable counties and take the negotiations on it seriously.”

Sources from at least three key countries in the G77+China block confirmed that in bilateral meetings and informal discussions between various countries on both side of the divide, the importance of a decision on the issue had been repeatedly asserted.

The US special envoy on climate change, Todd Stern arrived in Warsaw on Sunday and developing countries are expected to read every word he has to say on the controversial subject to find not just whether the US would budge but how far it would go to convince its other key partners – Australia and Canada that have taken the most trenchant position against the subject being discussed.

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