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Deal stuck on funds, emission cuts

Doha (Qatar), Dec. 7: The UN climate summit here appeared set to be extended beyond its scheduled end tonight with differences over funding and emission cuts holding up an agreement.

A few hours before the scheduled midnight close, more than 100 countries — including African nations, the Least Development Countries and the Alliance of Small Island States — were on the brink of a “walkout’’.

Their demand: the developed countries must fork out $20 billion annually for the Green Climate Fund, which helps developing nations curb emissions and cope with the effects of climate change, for the next three years.

“We shall either have $20 billion or nothing. We’ll rather go empty-handed from Doha,’’ said Pa Ousman Jarju, representing the Least Development Countries. Jarju said the G77 — a grouping of 77 developing countries — shared this position.

Sensing the mood, the “Basic” nations (India, China, South Africa and Brazil) too supported the poor and vulnerable countries’ stand. Till yesterday, the four-nation grouping had appeared willing to accept continuation of the current level of western funding for the Green Climate Fund — $10 billion a year — or a slightly raised figure.

Among the developed countries, only Britain and Germany received plaudits from the developing world for agreeing to raise their financial support to the fund by about 25 per cent.

The other sticking point at the 200-nation talks is the failure of the rich countries to agree to tougher emission cuts. A fresh round of ministerial discussions was to start close to midnight to resolve the outstanding issues.