Emerging Nations Seek to Streamline Climate Compensation Demands

Emerging nations from India to China and South Africa are pushing to make it easier to get compensation for climate-related damage as envoys struggle to make progress at United Nations negotiations in Warsaw.

India wants the Green Climate Fund, set up by UN to channel money to emerging countries, to include a “window” to handle reparations, while the Group of 77 developing nations and China are seeking a loss-and-damage regulator. Claims discussed at the UN talks include help to cut emissions, protection from extreme weather events and support for government departments.

“Certainly there is potential for streamlining,” Alf Wills, deputy director-general of environmental affairs at South Africa’s environment ministry, said yesterday in an interview in Warsaw, where representatives from almost 200 countries are gathered.

Since the talks began last week, developed and developing nations have argued over the responsibility for global warming and who should bear the cost. Poorer nations need about $531 billion a year of additional investment in energy technologies to keep the global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, the UN said in a Nov. 1 report.

The difference between what the developing nations want and the details provided by donor nations led by the U.S., Japan and European Union has become a source of friction in the UN talks. A three-year program of funding from developed nations finished in 2012 with $10 billion a year of payments. There’s no clear plan for how much more money will flow, and when.

Africa Aid

The African Group of nations is seeking more than $60 billion in climate-related aid in 2016, Wills said. He sees the Green Climate Fund playing a role in distributing compensation on top of its emissions cutting and climate adaptation responsibilities.

The EU is opposed to “automatic compensation” for severe weather events, and nations should be careful about creating “permanent institutions” to unlock loss and damage funds, EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told reporters in Warsaw yesterday.

The Green Climate Fund was set up by the UN to channel a portion of an annual $100 billion in climate aid that developed nations have pledged for developing ones by 2020.

“There should be a window in the Green Climate Fund” to handle loss and damage payments, India’s Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, said in an interview in Warsaw yesterday.

“Too much has been given to mitigation and hardly anything at all for adaptation,” Natarajan said. The fund’s loss and damage payment architecture “would need to be worked out.”

Initial Fundraising

The prospect of additional compensation payments by developed nations may in the future curb their willingness to pay into the Green Climate Fund, Manfred Konukiewitz, co-chairman of the fund, said in a Nov. 19 interview. The fund, governed by a board of rich-and-poor-nation representatives, is planning its initial fundraising next year and Germany signaled support for it yesterday.

“I see that there is a possible linkage, but it’s nothing that concerns us at the moment because I don’t see the loss and damage issue politically developed well enough so that we can have any decisions soon,” Konukiewitz said.

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