I have had a day and a half getting up to speed with the state of the negotiations here in Lima. I can report the there is a sense of cautious optimism that the revised text now being considered as the basis for a global agreement in Paris in 2015 might just fly. Of course there remain major points of difference between developing and developed countries but it's hard to say whether these will be ignored, papered over, blow up into major barriers or whether they will be eventually resolved in meetings scheduled throughout 2015.
The Green Climate Fund remains an outstanding issue. The new text does not seem to have retained the roadmap to $100b and this will almost certainly be a deal breaker. If the developed world is struggling to put $10b on the table now, who will foot the bill for the estimated $350b per year needed for adaptation in African countries alone?
Australia's failure to stump up any cash is a running sore and Minister Bishop won't get away with restating Australia's refusal to contribute, there is huge pressure on Australia to reverse its decision. If she also restates her view that climate change is not destroying the Great Barrier Reef she will make a complete fool of herself. This is on top of Australia being labelled a laggard with our ranking announced today at the bottom of the global index of developed countries on climate policy. We are now 57 out of 58 with only Saudi Arabia lower!!
Whilst developed countries want the focus of the negotiations to be on mitigation, that is reducing the greenhouse gases going to atmosphere, the developing world is just as focused on adaptation, that is adapting to the damage climate change is already causing in their countries. This gap in expectations requires a compromise and what we are not seeing is a proactive role from progressive countries trying to bridge the gap. The same applies to the inclusion of compensation for loss and damage caused because developed countries caused the problem and have failed to act to cut emissions deeply enough or fast enough.
One issue in the loss and damage discussions which requires much more focus is the issue of displacement of people caused by climate change. What is their legal status, who is responsible and who will pay compensation?
I am now on my way to a Global Voices side event looking specifically at corporate responsibility for global warming. 90 companies are responsible for 66% of the CO2 in the atmosphere to date and so the question of legal liability is now front and centre. Will shareholders risk the corporation being sued or the Directors being held to account? What risk management strategies will the corporations employ? BHP Billiton was the only Australian corporation in the list of top emitters.
This will assist the global justice network in calling for a levy on fossil fuel exports to go to a loss and damage fund since the corporations extracting the oil, coal and gas are driving the loss and damage. They were pleased to hear that the Australian Greens have already embodied this principle in our proposal to put a $2 levy on export thermal coal with the funds to go to a National Disaster and Resilience Fund.