Sparks Fly as G77 and China Clash With Developed Countries Over Climate Finance

4820321_6_aa7c_la-sud-africaine-nozipho-mxakato-diseko-parle_c9a54ee2845b833d2f8e309d8e8f0516Thursday’s ADP Contact Group stocktaking meeting took an unexpected turn when Ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko of South Africa took the floor with sharp words for developed countries that she accused of obstructing today’s Spin Off Group on Adaptation. Importantly, Ms. Mxakato-Diseko spoke in her capacity as Chair of the G77 negotiating group, which represents 137 developing countries plus China and includes the majority of the world’s poor. Bolivia also spoke on behalf of this group, accusing the developed countries of negotiating in “bad faith.”

At the stocktaking, the G77 and China expressed two chief concerns about negotiations to date. First, it noted that developed countries continuously fail to give attention to “Loss and Damage” associated with climate change, an issue critical to the LDC and SIDS groups who are most vulnerable to climate change impacts. The second source of contention related to whether and at what levels rich countries were willing to provide climate financing to poor countries to enable them to cut emissions and cope with the effects of global warming.

As of now, the developed countries, particularly the U.S., do not want mention of Loss and Damage in the final agreement. As for climate financing, one article of the draft agreement would require countries to make plans for adapting to climate change, and states that: “Developing country parties are eligible for support in the implementation of this article.” However, it is unclear whether rich nations will provide fixed levels of financial assistance.

After presenting these grievances to the ADP Co-Chairs Thursday, the G77 and China suspended the meeting to “huddle” for just over 20 minutes. Fortunately, instead of threatening to withdraw from further negotiations, the G77 and China returned and proposed a procedural path forward, in which the ADP Co-Chairs would produce a clean draft agreement text to the Parties for review Friday to allow for a comprehensive view of all of the issues.

While these meetings will pick up Friday morning, time is of the essence. Parties must work to finalize the latest draft of the agreement and decision by Saturday midday. This deadline comes from COP President Laurent Fabius who charged the ADP with cleaning up the draft agreement and decision text by reducing the number of options.

Fun fact: our delegation left the venue Thursday night with Ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko as meeting attendees traveled home on the COP21 shuttle.