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G77+China Walk Out Of UN Climate Talks Over ‘Loss And Damage’ Compensation

Nitin Sethi, The Hindu

The G77+China group of 133 countries walked out of negotiations on Loss and Damage at around 3:30 am on Wednesday morning after the rich countries refused to budge from the position that the subject should be discussed only after 2015.

The U.S., Australia and Canada have been the most vocal and trenchant advocates against setting up a separate mechanism on Loss and Damage while the E.U., though not belligerent, has also played a part to make sure the mechanism does not materialise at the Warsaw meeting.

At a closed door meeting of representatives of various country blocks, called a ‘contact group on loss and damage’, the developed countries continued to demand that the issue be discussed only after 2015. While several parallel stream of negotiations are on at the moment, including that on finance for poor countries and the basic elements of the 2015 agreement, walk out of even one stream of parallel talks in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change threatens to bring to halt all negotiations.

“Everything clears together or nothing moves at all,” is how one G77 delegate put it to The Hindu.

The Hindu had earlier reported that the G77+China group had warned that if the rich countries did not relent, it would be forced to walk out of the talks — a rare event, which happens only when there is absolute lack of trust between countries gathered at the climate talks.

A secret briefing document, prepared by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, that The Hindu had accessed, had advised that Loss and Damage should remain, at worst, another stream under the ‘adaptation’ mechanisms and not be allowed as a separate independent system to pay compensation or reparation to poor countries.

While poor countries look upon Loss and Damage reparation for the damage caused by inevitable climate change which any amount of adaptation cannot avoid, the developed countries desire that the issue be defanged from any kind of legal liability it may impose upon the key countries with highest historic emissions.

At the time of writing, the G77+China group is holding its coordination meeting in which the walk out from Loss and Damage is likely to be the key discussion.

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