Monday, 14 November 2011

Durban Climate Talks: EuroZone Crisis Worsens Outlook

Durban climate talks couldn't have come at a worse time when Euro-Zone crisis looms large with Greece and Italy sounding the alarm bells.

The global financial crisis of 2008, that was triggered off by the failure of corporate banking institutions has exposed nations to higher levels of risk in its aftermath. The levels of risk have assumed unmanageable proportions. Greece is tattering under a sovereign debt crisis and Italy preparing itself as another blowout in-the-making.

The implications of an impending collapse would not only have a far-reaching impact on global economy but also jeopardize the progress made over years to bring nations closer together for an all-binding climate deal.

Last year, at Cancun, developed nations pledged finances to feed the $ 100 billion climate fund - a move considered to have far reaching consequences in terms of enabling developing nations to migrate to low carbon technologies. However, going by the recent economic and political turmoil in US and Europe, mobilizing these resources appears to be a daunting task.

The climate talks that would begin at Durban from November 28 would open discussions on issues that are likely to lead to a deadlock, some of them being:

Where's the money on the table? - Developing nations do not see money coming into the climate fund. Even after a year since the commitments were made, the UN Gen Secy termed it as "an empty shell"

What are the sources of funds? - Developing nations are apprehending that developed nations would re-package existing funds and channelize them into the proposed climate fund. In other words, there's no new money.

What would be the fate of Kyoto Protocol? - With US still remaining a non-signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, other developed nations - Japan, Canada and Russia, have prepared to join the league by opting out of a second commitment period. Russia has cited that the second commitment period would not cover all nations

Will developing nations curb emissions? With India and China emerging as the fast developing economies, the emissions in these countries are also on the rise. In fact, China has overtaken US as the world's biggest producer of carbon dioxide while India stands at number three.

The severity of climate change is undoubtedly being felt across the globe and even in the US, Russia, Japan and Canada - countries opposing Kyoto Part I or Part II, in some way or the other. With Euro Zone crisis coming around at a time when nations are just about to make their best attempt to make a head way at Durban, the outlook looks only bleak.

With global carbon emissions still on the rise, the hopes of a fruitful negotiation at Durban are low.

The author is Vice President (Sustainable Strategy) at ThinktoSustain and can be reached at

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