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9 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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US accused of blocking UN climate talks amid protests

AFP
US accused of blocking UN 
climate talks amid protests
An environmental activist wearing a face-mask depicting US President Donald Trump takes part in a demonstration in front of the United Nations building in Bangkok, where experts from across the planet locked in key talks aimed at breathing life into the Paris Agreement on climate change yesterday. AFP PHOTO

BANGKOK: The United States, despite withdrawing from a landmark accord aimed at curbing climate change, is stonewalling vital UN talks over how to fund poorer nations as they battle against global warming, sources told AFP yesterday, reports AFP.

US President Donald Trump caused global outrage by withdrawing from the Paris Accord last year but his country is still committed to the deal’s roadmap, giving Washington leverage over the Bangkok conference.

The issue of how funds are made available to developing nations has emerged as a key sticking point at the talks, which have made little headway since they opened on Tuesday.

The Paris deal—hailed as a game-changer when struck in 2015 -- promised $100 billion annually from 2020 to poor nations already coping with floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels exacerbated by climate change.

But it left room for debate over how that money should be provided, as well as how donor nations would source and report their contributions.

Washington has tabled a proposal with support from Japan and Australia that seeks to remove rules on how countries account for their climate action funding, multiple sources close to the negotiations told AFP.

This would mean that developed economies—responsible for the lion’s share of planet-warming-feeding carbon emissions—could still count commercial loans and pre-existing state funding as part of their finance obligations.

Observers in Bangkok said the US and some other developed economies were also refusing point blank to discuss the contentious issue of how rich nations inform other states of their future funding plans.

A State Department spokeswoman declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

The US position is starkly at odds with that of the developing nations, which insist that transparent and predictable finance is needed to effectively plan investment in new technologies and carbon reduction.

A senior climate negotiator told AFP that the US delegation in Bangkok was “poisoning” discussions aimed at creating a clear roadmap to implementing what nations agreed in the Paris deal.

“The US is no longer playing the game but it’s still setting the rules,” said the negotiator, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Activists rounded on the US, accusing Washington of endangering hard-earned gains on a global initiative to stop runaway global warming.

“The role of the US negotiators at the talks is actively hindering progress at this critical stage,” Harjeet Singh, the global lead on climate change for pressure group ActionAid, told AFP.

He also accused other negotiating blocs, including the European Union, of “standing on the sidewalk” by failing to stand up for developing countries.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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