The EU is already coming in for a lot of flak here due to some of its member countries trying to water down their commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions. So it was a surprise to see the French Presidency of the EU reviving memories of Marie Antoinette at the EU reception last night. Everyone was invited but where was the food? “Let them eat cake”, the host might have said. But there was no cake either.
Lots of slogans adorn the walls in the EU area (see photos) but so far the action being taken doesn’t seem to match the rhetoric. One big hole is the lack of an EU position on finance – how to pay for green development in poor countries and how to pay for them to adapt to the degree of climate change that they are already experiencing.
The EU won’t have a position until March next year but lots of other countries already know what they want. The G77 group of 130 developing countries wants 0.5-1% of GDP from rich countries set aside to pay for action on climate change, in addition to any money being channelled through aid budgets.
They are certainly in the right ball-park: the UN reckons that adaptation alone will cost developing countries an $67 billion a year by 2030 – and that’s likely to be a significant underestimate given the lack of action on curbing emissions. More emissions now means more adaptation later.
Later today we should have some sense of whether some of the ‘quick wins’ identified by countries coming into these talks are indeed likely to be agreed speedily. Discussions are due to begin on the global Adaptation Fund, which just needs to clear a few technical hurdles before it can start spending money early next year. There are rumours that some countries may want to reopen old debates and that would slow everything down.