UN talks on climate change solutions on hold on funding


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Paris (AFP)- Negotiations to finalize a key UN report on how to avert climate catastrophe, already after a two-day extension, stalled on Sunday over financial needs, participants told AFP.

The two-week virtual talks have been contentious from the start, as nearly 200 countries grapple with tough choices about how to quickly 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 out on Monday, will detail how societies and industries need to be redesigned to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the worst impacts of a warming planet.

But with sweeping changes needed – and huge investments at stake – the political stakes are high.

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

Nations are tasked with drafting a line-by-line, high-level “summary for policymakers” that distills the thousands of pages of the underlying IPCC assessment.

“We are 90% approved of the summary,” which is about 40 pages long, said a person following the talks. “What’s holding things up is finance.”

The United States balks at data showing how much developing countries need to cut greenhouse gas emissions to meet Paris Agreement temperature targets, while China wants the numbers included in full spot, a source said.

While these detailed estimates would remain in the main IPCC report, the United States and other wealthy nations want them removed from the all-important summary for policymakers.

Some studies have indicated that developing countries need to spend trillions a year, far more than current levels of investment.

“These figures are highly relevant for policy. The report indicates that it is possible to limit warming to 1.5°C and to halve emissions by 2030,” the source said.

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

Negotiations over how to present the IPCC’s findings have faltered over how and how quickly the fossil fuels that drive global warming should be depleted.

Talks are also at a standstill on the place to 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 the “political pressure” was trying to “hide the undeniable reality” that warming would reach “catastrophic levels” if a move away from fossil fuels is not not accelerated immediately.


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