A key compromise by developing countries, including India, on one of the finance provisions is in the offing and it could become the turning point at the Paris climate change conference.
It is learnt that developing countries were ready to accommodate a provision in the agreement that would ask them to offer climate finance if they were “in a position to do so” or were “willing to do so”. But they would agree to such a provision only if it was a voluntary requirement and if developed countries explicitly pledge to raise at least US$ 100 billion every year after 2020 as promised.
The developed countries had, at the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, said they would “mobilise” $ 100 billion every year from 2020. Six years on, developed nations have not been able to raise the full amount of the first tranche. As a result, the commitment to raise $ 100 billion in every subsequent year after that has been under doubt. US negotiators, while repeatedly saying that developed countries will fulfil their commitments in the post-2020 period, have shied away from mentioning the $ 100 billion figure.
Instead, US and other countries have been pushing for a provision that will also ask developing countries to contribute to climate finance in a “voluntary” manner. Developing countries have so far been rejecting any such proposal, citing the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that mandates a group of 25 rich and industrialised countries only to provide climate finance. Developed countries have been arguing that the need for climate finance was well beyond $ 100 billion and it would be good if developing countries also contribute.
Developing countries now agree on the concept of such a provision but are working on the language that would not make it binding for them, like developed nations, to provide finance.
The BASIC grouping of countries, comprising India, China, Brazil and South Africa, Tuesday gave indications that they might agree to such an understanding.
“We will also do our bit (to provide climate finance), bilaterally. China has already helped through south-south cooperation. We have been helping our neighbours. But these are strictly our bilateral and voluntary actions,” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said.
China’s climate change representative Xie Zhenhua agreed with this formulation, saying “the more (the money on offer), the better”.
“We would like the scale of climate finance to go further up. We urge developed countries to fulfil their obligation…, while the developing countries, on a voluntary basis, can also contribute….,” Xie said.