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UN Climate Talks Once Again Break Down Over ‘Climate Reparations’

United Nations climate delegates are likely to leave Lima, Peru this weekend without having made any real progress toward a treaty to reduce global warming.

By the end of the 10-day conference, diplomats were once again divided over questions of how much money rich countries should give poor countries in aid to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and adapt to global temperature rises.

So far, rich nations have only pledged $10 billion to the UN’s Green Climate Fund. this is below the $15 billion goal set by the UN and well below the $100 billion per year promise made by rich countries, including the U.S., in 2009.

“We are disappointed,” Prakash Javadekar a UN delegate from India, told The Guardian. “It is ridiculous. It is ridiculously low.”

“We are upset that 2011, 2012, 2013 – three consecutive years – the developed world provided $10bn each year for climate action support to the developing world, but now they have reduced it. Now they are saying $10bn is for four years, so it is $2.5bn,” Javadekar said.

Poor, developing countries led by China want rich, developed nations to pay for costly climate programs in poor nations will have to implement in an effort to meet the internationally agreed upon goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius by 2100.

Similar disagreements hurt last year’s UN climate negotiations in Warsaw, Poland. The U.S. and other developed countries came out against so-called climate “reparations” to poor countries for historical greenhouse gas emissions. This caused a massive walk out of UN talks led by China and the G77.

Some observers thought this year would be different after the U.S. and China pledged to curb carbon dioxide emissions in the coming years. The U.S. pledged to cut emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025 and China pledged to peak emissions by 2030.

Despite the optimism, the talks quickly broke down between rich and poor blocs as China called on more climate aid for the developed world.

The “$10 billion is just one 10th of that objective,” and “we do not have any clear road map of meeting that target for 2020,” said Su Wei, China’s lead climate negotiator, according to Bloomberg. Su Wei added that global warming aid is “a trust-building process.”

“The significance of the China-U.S. announcement is that there’s a general understanding by the leaders of the two countries that climate change is a real threat,” Su Wei said. “A joint announcement does not necessarily blur the distinction between developed and developing countries. They announced their actions but that was in a different manner.”

China also came out against a U.S.-led draft agreement that would allow other countries to oversee the country’s progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Another big sticking point between rich and poor nations was which countries should bear the burden of emissions cuts. The U.S. and its allies are calling on China and India to cut emissions, while those countries say developed countries should do more on their own.

“How many CoPs will it take for us to really see any tangible results? We have been going from CoP to CoP and every time we are given so many assurances, and expectations are raised, but the gaps are getting wider,” said said Ahmed Sareer, a Maldivian diplomat.

“There has been a clear commitment of $100bn a year but how are we really being offered? Even when they make those pledges how do we know how much is going to materialise? There is no point of knowing that behind the wall there is a big source of funds available unless we can reach it,” he told The Guardian.

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