Peru climate talks lumber along
Petre Williams-Raynor, Contributing Editor
AFTER A week of negotiations here, it remains to be seen whether countries will answer the call of respected leader in energy and environmental issues Dr Rajendra Pachauri for a progressive international climate change agreement.
Speaking to journalists at a training workshop in October, Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), described such an agreement as one "based on the science of climate change, that minimises the worse impacts of climate change" and which takes "adequate and timely action in the mitigation of the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by which we can deal with temperature increase".
Jamaica's climate negotiator and head of the island's Climate Change Division, Albert Daley, is hopeful for realising same.
"I don't get the sense that there is anxiety that a decision will not be arrived at. It seems as though, despite the challenges, we are making progress," he told The Gleaner over lunch on Monday.
One of those challenges, Daley said, has to do with financing and specifically for Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which are country commitments to reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), which fuel climate change.
"You have some countries that want to include financing as a part of the INDCs so as to have some sort of guarantee within the agreement that funding is available," he explained, adding that reaching consensus on this has so far eluded even the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), of which Jamaica is a member.
"Even in AOSIS, there is not a consensus as to what is to be included in the INDCS, whether it should be only mitigation issues or whether it should be means of implementation, meaning financing, technology and so on. So, we are gradually progressing towards some sort of understanding among ourselves as to what we would consider to be acceptable INDCs," he noted.
FOCUS ON MITIGATION
"I think we are coming to the point where we are agreeing with some of our other parties that INDCs should focus on mitigation, but that we should ensure that in the agreement itself, there is ample and adequate provision for financing [which] can be guaranteed in some way and linked to the [core] agreement [that is to be signed in Paris next year]," Daley added.
Securing financing for INDCs in developing countries are considered important to the sustainable and sharp reduction of GHGs over the medium to long term.
There is concern that a failure to realise such a reduction — within as well as outside of developing countries — could send the world racing towards a tipping point where the melting of ice and global warming become irreversible.
As things stand now, the IPCC has identified possible impacts of climate change by the end of this century as including:
(1) the increase in the length, frequency and/or intensity of heat waves over most land areas;
(2) a one-in-20-year hottest day becoming a one-in-2-year event in most regions; and
(3) that the frequency or proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls will increase over many areas of the globe.
Accompanying such impacts will be a slew of health and livelihood implications — from injury and disease to the loss of livelihood in sectors such as tourism, fisheries and agriculture.
Meanwhile, settling the issue of finance around the INDCs aside, Daley said his hope was that the next few days would yield significant progress on other issues, including loss and damage associated with climate change impacts, as well as the mobilisation of the promised US$100 billion by 2020 for climate change actions in developing countries.