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A look at the text by US and EU Climate Action Network representatives

December 9, 2015

After the latest draft text was released at 3pm on Day 10 of COP21, representatives from the Climate Action Network (CAN) in the US and the EU held press briefings to present their analyses. Watch the webcast of the US CAN here, and the EU CAN here.

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US CAN Press briefing

Facilitator: Key Chatterjee (USCAN)

Speakers: Jake Schmidt (Natural Resource Defense Council), Mary Mcnette (Evangelical Luhteran Church in America), KC Golden (Climate Solutions)

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EU CAN Press briefing

Speakers: Wendel Trio (Climate Action Network Europe), Stefan Krug (Greenpeace Germany), Mattias Soderberg (Dan Church Aid)

The US and the EU raised similar concerns on finance and transparency. They believed in the need for a review prior to 2020. They also wanted to see mechanisms in place to ensure that countries carry out their commitments and financial obligations. John Kerry’s pledge to double adaptation assistance by 2020 proved to be marked step forward in finance, but details on how it may be achieve are still unclear. For the EU, the US$60 billion for climate finance demonstrates progress towards the US$100 billion goal. However, they mentioned that most of the money was in the form of development aid and loans, rather than grants and a separate fund for climate finance. Funding was catered more towards mitigation rather than adaptation, although developing nations would prefer finance on adaptation.

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The concerns mentioned above are not new. They have been repeated time and again throughout the negotiations, side events and press briefings. If it is so difficult for an international agreement to be reached, should countries look for solutions in a more bottom-up approach then? The US cited that Northwestern US garnering momentum from the civil society to fight against fossil fuels and adopt clean energy solutions. Yet, a reasonable solution cannot be completely dependent on community-based efforts because communities have varying capacities and climate change affects the world. In fact, the precise reason why countries would love a “fair agreement” is because the communities with lower capacities feel the greatest impacts but do not contribute the most to emissions.

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The US needs to put aside its misperception that the rest of the world will not act if they do. In fact, two-thirds of the nation is supportive of reaching an agreement. The US even has domestic laws to hold the government accountable. Thus, their efforts should be translated into the negotiations, and eventually the text.

The EU needs to take the lead to provide support for vulnerable countries. Understandably, the diversity of countries within EU has made it difficult for representatives to speak in one voice. Nonetheless, the EU has tried to create a greater sense of ownership by having different ministers work on different topics.

Delegations are running on a time crunch now, and it appears that the developed countries have yet to respond comprehensively to developing countries’ needs. Thus far, the Paris negotiations have been much more fruitful than the Copenhagen negotiations. We have started out strong with the heads of states showing positivity in the negotiations, so let’s end it off in the same fashion.

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