Limping to Paris
It’s Pay Up or Shut Up for the Climate Deal

The world’s poor countries won’t sign on to a Global Climate Treaty in Paris this December if it doesn’t include assurances of cold, hard cash. That’s the message being put forth by Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, a South African climate delegate who speaks for the G77+China, who described climate change as an “existential” threat for the developing world and a “matter of life and death.” Reuters reports:

[South African delegate Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko’s] Group of 77 and China, which has expanded to 134 members from 77 at its founding, wants guarantees that aid will be “scaled up from a floor of $100 billion from 2020″…The United States and other rich nations favor vaguer wording that stops short of promising a rise from 2020. […]

“Whether Paris succeeds or not will be dependent on what we have as part of the core agreement on finance,” she told a news conference in Bonn during the Oct. 19-23 U.N. talks among almost 200 nations, the final preparatory session before Paris.

This isn’t the first time Mxakoto-Diseko has made headlines this week. On Monday she likened the current state of climate treaty negotiations to apartheid, saying those in the developing world are finding themselves “in a position where in essence we are disenfranchised.”

That’s a feeling widely shared in the developing world, which rightfully takes issue with the idea of a climate deal that restricts the industrialization of poorer nations, when it was the developed world’s own growth that put them in the position of having to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. That complaint is exactly what the climate fund set up in the failed 2009 Copenhagen summit was meant to address, but that program has so far been underfunded.

It’s no surprise, then, that the G77 is making a big deal about financing as we gear up for Paris. Rich countries—the United States chief among them—will push back on this, wary of being indefinitely on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars, but it’s hard to imagine the impending summit producing any sort of agreement that doesn’t involve financial guarantees.

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