22 October 2009

EU Climate Finance Still At Zero Cents

By: Kaavya Nag
While civil society expectations from Copenhagen might officially be sky-high, even the executive secretary of the UNFCCC thinks a ‘fully fledged new international treaty” is not on the cards this December.

The signs are there to read and no adept Magus is needed to make us see that for now, the path may only show a slight deviation from Business As Usual (BAU). Another round of conferencing of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) in London, with UK ‘throwing everything in’ to meet the climate challenge, fell flat. The US is still not ready with an internal policy that can make domestic actions compatible with international expectations, and unless the President (or a global climate deal with the US on board) has Congressional support, the agreement will only result in positioning minus action.

With the US taking some time for internal policies to mesh with external expectations, the baton is in the European Union’s hands. EU Finance ministers met just a day ago to agree on a EU climate finance offer for Copenhagen. While murmurs indicate that no real outcome was expected here but rather at the EU Council meeting a day from now, this development in itself is reflective of a larger problem.

No negotiators, bureaucrats or even ministers seem to have the power to decide on the key sticky issues (which remain finance, targets and mitigation actions). The EU finance ministers meeting was hoping to get the EU to accept a figure of 100 billion euros starting from 2012 to help meet developing country needs. However, a number of countries including Poland wanted fast-start financing (for up to 2012) to be on a voluntary basis, and to contribute less to the EU share over time – a position that was unacceptable to the majority of EU member states. The decision on finance has now been left to heads of state at the EU Council meeting later this week.

This meeting will effectively be the last big meeting for a major block of industrialized countries to agree on a climate finance proposal. After this, the case rests with all Heads of State who will make a trip to Copenhagen in December.

Push your key ministers and Head of State to attend the Copenhagen climate negotiations. Also push them to find ambition and drive before they reach, and remember to put it on the table!

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