Rich-vs.-poor nations' clash stalls work toward 2015 climate pact
Los Angeles Times
The issue that has prevented a major advance in the battle against global warming for two decades has scuttled progress at the latest U.N.
After a 30-hour marathon of closed-door negotiations that concluded Saturday, the two-week Warsaw conference fizzled to an inconclusive end, with drafters of the final document substituting the word "contributions" in the place of "commitments," according to news agency reports. That allowed both sides to claim victory, with the U.S. and Europe having secured their "deadlines" and the developing nations bloc able to define for themselves what "contribution" each is prepared to make to reduce emissions.
A rich-versus-poor nations dispute also hampered progress on a proposed "loss and damage mechanism" to provide aid to countries hit by major disasters thought to be related to climate change, such as the typhoon in the Philippines this month that has left more than 5,000 dead. The United States and the European Union, although willing to help poorer countries fight the effects of climate change, objected to taking on legal obligations for severe-weather events.
The Warsaw gathering did make notable progress in pledging greater protection of the forests in developing nations. Trees mitigate harmful emissions by absorbing carbon dioxide, and deforestation is said to account for 20% of the greenhouse gas accumulation.