Bonn Talks: Paris Deal Close But Climate Finance Is The Elephant In The Room

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As the climate talks in Bonn came to a close on Friday, Christian Aid hailed the progress made on a global agreement to be signed in Paris, but warned that rich countries’ attempts to back out of their prior commitments on climate finance would not work.

Christian Aid’s Senior Climate Advisor, Mohamed Adow, said that despite the fractious end to the negotiations as delegates worked to fine-tune the agreement, overall progress had been good.

“At the end of the last round of talks we had an 80-page text,” he said. “We now leave Bonn with a manageable document, which contains some robust content that will form the basis of the world’s global climate deal. 

“At the same point before the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009 there were 180 pages so we’re in a far better position this time around.”

But he added that the sticky issue of climate finance is becoming the elephant in the room and needs to be addressed if the Paris summit is to be a success.

He said: “The reason we have got this far in negotiating a global climate agreement, including poor countries as well as big emitters, is because rich countries promised to deliver a balanced outcome that incorporated climate finance. That is what helped win the cooperation of the developing world. 

“But now that we’re on the brink of sealing the deal, rich countries are trying to wriggle out of their commitments. Rich countries cannot erase history: neither their past emissions nor their promises on finance, which have been instrumental in getting us to this point. 

“We can’t leave the climate deal to just the energy and environment ministers. Their work needs to be complemented by treasury ministers and heads of state, who must come to the table and bring their cheque books. The deal is ripe but we need the finance if we’re going to pick the fruit.

“As we progress to Paris, it is vital that developed nations get serious about finding sources of finance for 2020 and beyond. Not only is it their obligation, but it will also help to cut emissions. Climate finance will help poor countries leapfrog dirty energy and make a safe, clean and more prosperous world a reality.”