COP18 Doha UN climate talks Nov 27

Tuesday 0925GMT: An annual fixture at these UN climate talks is publication of the latest Global Climate Risk Index by the research and advocacy organization, Germanwatch.

Despite its carefully measured tone, each year the message becomes a little more insistent. The 2013 Index presented in a press conference this morning is no exception.

The index analyses how countries have been affected by extreme weather events over the ten year period to 2011. It looks in particular at the death toll and the economic cost. Honduras, Myanmar and Nicaragua top the list. All countries in the top ten are developing countries.

The researchers acknowledge that only a small number of extreme events can be explicitly linked to climate change but the overall pattern is clear. Countries like Bangladesh – which has experienced more of these events over the last ten years than any other country – have recognised the challenge and invested in early warning systems and evacuation shelters.

Who pays for this? The purpose of these Doha negotiations is to hammer out the extent to which the richer countries bear some responsibility. “We don’t know the exact percentage of these damages that can be attributed to anthropogenic global warming,” said Saleemul Huq, “but it’s not zero.”

Hurricane Sandy occurred too recently for inclusion in this latest Index. Even without its impact, the Germanwatch research shows that GDP in the US has been 0.33% lower as a result of extreme weather events.

In their conclusions, the Germanwatch team has edged into into the political territory of urging COP18 to get serious with an international strategy for “loss and damage.” That involves tough talking about the challenges of insurance and rehabilitation.

This is the painful world that lies “beyond adaptation”.


Tuesday 1305GMT: It was great to have a chance to hear what Zambia’s David Kaluba had to say about climate finance in the press conference for the Least Developed Countries just completed.

As a member of the Board of the Green Climate Fund, Kaluba represents one of the few telling achievements of recent years – an international fund with balanced governance between the beneficiaries and the providers.

The snag is that there’s no money in the GCF for Kaluba and his colleagues to distribute. A picture is emerging as to how the LDCs intend to exert their leverage to ensure this COP corrects that situation.

Evans Njewa from Malawi explained that agreement on a climate finance roadmap will be a condition for LDCs to play their part in a successful outcome of COP18. The current scenario in which the fast start period of support ends next month and the promised $100 billion per annum doesn’t arrive until 2020 is not tenable.

Instead of the trendy “cliff” image, Kaluba described this as an 8-year drought before the “river” starts flowing.

The LDCs have suggested a rolling schedule to bridge the gap in which baseline commitments must be made by the richer countries for 2013-2015 and 2015-2020 and beyond.

“We need clarity at the COP,” said Kaluba, “we must be clear that nothing is being hidden in terminologies.”


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