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Financial Disputes Hamper UN Climate Talks

  • Pamela Dockins

Disputes over finances have hampered progress at U.N. climate talks in Poland as delegates debate how to best provide aid to help developing countries fight global warming.

Meanwhile, a small group of protesters outside the talks expressed displeasure over how financial issues have bogged down efforts to prevent climate change.

Developing countries are challenging wealthy nations to follow through on a pledge to allocate $100 billion a year to help them deal with climate change. The commitment is supposed to be in place by 2020, yet there is concern that industrialized nations are not living up to that promise, according to Simon Bradshaw, a climate change spokesman at Oxfam.

"The worry is that developed countries just have not delivered fast enough on the finance commitments that were made right back in 2009. We have seen very little new money on the table this year and we have not seen strong, credible plans from any country on how they are going to scale up their contributions," said Bradshaw.

The talks on climate change are taking place as the Philippines continues to reel after being devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

The World Bank estimated that global economic losses causes by extreme weather -- such as this storm -- have risen to nearly $200 billion annually and could continue to rise as climate change worsens.

However, the talks have come at a time when many industrialized nations are trying to spur growth in their stagnant economies.

"We cannot have a system where there will be automatic compensation whenever severe weather events are happening in one place or other around the planet. You can understand why this is not feasible," said Connie Hedegaard, the European Commissioner for Climate Action.

Mary Sering, the Philippine representative at the talks, criticized the lack of an agreement on greenhouse gas emissions.

"If we are to review our progress, would it be right for me to conclude that we failed miserably? Looking at science and how it manifested itself, not only at Typhoon Haiyan but also other events, like Katrina in the United States, the heat wave in France, the wildfires in Australia, and other extreme events occurring after observed increased warming, should we not be all ashamed being here?" asked Sering.

The conference continues through Friday. The group hopes to lay the groundwork for a 2015 climate agreement.
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