Climate finance has a mountain to climb in Durban

11:03am GMT:  Your country has reneged on its emissions reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, it has plotted the downfall of the Protocol, and it subsidises oil companies engaged in one of the most destructive engineering projects on the planet, the Alberta tar sands.

Your only friends in Durban speak very difficult languages like Japanese, Russian and Arabic.

Undeterred, the Canadian Youth Delegation is no shrinking violet. They’ve presented five policy demands to the Canadian negotiators, with a preamble that echoes the Greenpeace statement earlier this week:

We demand that the government stop working on behalf of the oil industry, and start working for us

The Youth Delegation has also put together a podcast which interacts with the Occupy Toronto movement to explore connections between its broad social grievances and global climate justice.

12:23pm GMT: Let’s revisit yesterday’s quote by UK minister, Chris Huhne: “it would be premature to pledge finance to the Green Fund in Durban.” What sort of reception can he expect for that position?

Drinks all round from the Americans, of course. They signed up in Cancun for the principle of a fund to bring $100 billion per annum to developing countries by 2020 but that’s as far as it goes. The US is blocking the logistics of setting up the Green Climate Fund, let alone its funding.

The Europeans are a little more forward. Earlier this month, Connie Hedegaard, Commissioner for Climate Action, told the European Parliament that she wanted to “make progress on the identification of sources of finance.”

Elsewhere the attitudes are rather different. UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon recently told a gathering of ministers from vulnerable countries in Bangladesh: “an empty shell cannot be unanswered. We must fill this shell.” The ministers themselves went further in their Dhaka Declaration:

We call upon the developed countries to make firm commitments on a progressive increase of funds with a specific and reasonable annual enhancement in the period 2013-2020

The position of the pivotal BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) is to acknowledge the impact of global economic woes but that reduced funding should nevertheless be available (see video below).

The US envoy for climate change, Todd Stern, has more radical plans. He told a press conference last week that the “advanced emerging economies” like China should “chip in” to the fund themselves.

You can see why some seasoned observers like John Vidal think we’re heading for a train crash in Durban.


this post was first published by OneWorld UK