UN IPCC talks hung up on finance

Negotiations to finalise a key UN report on how to stave off climate catastrophe wrapped up on April 3, more than two days late following a tussle over how to describe financial needs.

The two-week virtual talks have been contentious from the start, as nearly 200 nations grapple with hard choices about how to rapidly purge carbon pollution from their economies and become carbon neutral by mid-century.

The latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due to be published on Monday, will detail how societies and industries must be reimagined to cut greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the worst impacts of a heating planet.

But with sweeping changes needed — and huge investments on the line — the political stakes are high.

“Everybody has something to lose and everybody has something to gain,” another participant monitoring the process said.

Nations are tasked with thrashing out line-by-line a high-level “summary for policymakers” that distils the thousands of pages of the IPCC’s underlying assessment.

“We’re at 90 percent of approving the Summary,” which is about 40 pages long, one person tracking the talks said. “What is holding things up is the finance.”

The United States is balking at data showing how much developing countries require to slash greenhouse gas emissions to meet the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement, whereas China wants the figures prominently included, one source said.

While these detailed estimates would remain in the main IPCC report, the US and other wealthy nations want it dropped from the all-important summary for policymakers.

Some studies have said that developing nations need to spend trillions per year, many times more than current levels of investment.

“These figures are very policy relevant. The report says it is possible to limit warming to 1.5C and cut emissions in half by 2030,” the source said.

“But you can’t say that without saying how much money you need to implement those solutions.”

Negotiations on how to cast the IPCC’s findings have stumbled over how, and how quickly, the fossil fuels that drive global warming must be drawn down.

Talks have also stalled over how big a role should be given to technologies that capture CO2 as it is emitted or extract it from the air.

Nikki Reisch, of the Center for International Environmental Law, said “political pressure” was trying to “mask the undeniable reality” that warming will reach “catastrophic levels” if the shift away from fossil fuels is not accelerated immediately.

Source: AFP

Tags: Carbon Neutral, Climate Change, IPCC
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