by Surya Karki
Rajendra K Pachauri [the chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)] in his opening statement at COP 19 said, “it is extremely likely, about 95%, that humans are causing climate change.” So the question is, are we going to wait for the remaining 5%, to take climate change seriously? Or do the climate negotiators need more disasters like typhoon haiyan to prove the urgency to agree on a just climate deal? According to Mr. Pachauri himself, the impacts of climate change are going to be visible more and more in the future, and suggests that every youth in the world should fight to protect that future.
Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres asked the crowd to take a deep breath and pinpointed the fact that we were the first of human species to breath air with 400 parts per million of CO2. As true as it was, it was depressing to be hit on the face by reality with the fact that Mrs. Figueres will be attending the World Coal Conference scheduled for early morning of Monday 18th of November 2013.
It is the people with the least emissions, least contribution to climate change and the least financial resources to meet the cost for adaptation that suffer most from the impacts of climate change. While one part of the world (the Annex I parties) pollutes the world, the developing country citizens continue to suffer severe losses and damages, both economic, non-economic and human lives. Who is going to be accountable for the 4460 plus Filipinos and all the losses they have incurred, and who is going to pay for the adaptation of the affected communities in Philippines and other developing and Least Developed Countries?
There is certainly a lot of work on the part of developing country negotiators, to fight to strike a just climate deal before it is too late, because everybody knows that climate change is not going to wait on the UNFCCC to reach an agreement. It is going to get even more severe with every ton of CO2 emitted into the earth’s atmosphere and none of the least developed countries have the adequate and additional financial resources, and technology to adapt to the changing weather patterns nor have their cries been taken seriously.
After years of struggle from the LDCs,”Recognizing” the urgency to act for impacted people, UNFCCC showed some affection by giving way to the establishment of the Least Developed Country Fund (LDCF). The struggle has just begun for LDCs because the most difficult part is yet to come, getting the finance for the funds to carry out adaptation projects. So far the aforementioned struggle has moved at a snails pace for the reason that the fund was established to demonstrate that everyone is “concerned” for the impacts of climate change on poor and vulnerable communities around the world.
In the progress report published by Global Environment Facility (GEF) on Least Developed Country Fund (LDCF), it proudly states that: “As at July 31, 2013, cumulative pledges to the LDCF amounted to $774.9 million, of which $626.9 million had been received”. This statement, which is highlighted in red on the GEF website clearly shows the excitement that the report was written in, ending it with received. At this current rate, GEF, which is happy on its above mentioned success, will only be able to maintain its highly paid staff.
LDCF was set up in 2001, and like every other climate fund, came into operation after some years of establishment in 2005, because the UNFCCC was deciding how to operationalise the fund. In the 4 years before the enforcement of the fund, and 8 years after it, developed country parties haven’t even committed to providing 0.0005% of the total energy subsidies paired with negative impacts of fossil fuel, which is estimated at $2 trillion annually.
This failure demonstrates that in 19 years of negotiation there is only one thing sure in terms of climate finance, developed countries will continue to promise and never fulfill their promises. It is not a lot that the developed nations have to do, except provide 1% of the world’s military spending, $10 billion, every year to the LDCF. The 1% will help fulfill the same mission that every military spending has, fight terrorism, maintain peace and protect human lives. Isn’t that what military spending is supposed to be for?
Filipino delegate Yeb Sano went on a voluntary fast until significant progress is made to address climate change and climate finance on the first day of COP 19 while everybody in the plenary hall stood in three minutes silence for the victims of typhoon Haiyan. The three minutes silence led to an attempt by the UNFCCC to silence the civil society by expelling three first time COP attendees. The halls are filled with drama as governments once more for the 19th try to decide the future of our planet and humans in general, but there are concerns that this COP might just be another two week vacation for most negotiators, like it has been in the past.