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| Last Updated:15/10/2019

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Typhoon Haiyan sets tone for UN climate change talks

NEW DELHI: The Philippines' tragedy that saw loss of over 10,000 lives by Typhoon Haiyan set the tone of United Nations' climate change talks, which began in Warsaw on Monday, amid hope that the devastation, caused by global warming, will move both developed and developing countries alike to find a lasting solution to deal with vagaries of nature.

Asking the gathering at Warsaw to work until the most meaningful outcome to deal with issue is in sight, the Philippines' head of delegation to the UN climate talks, Yeb Sano, stunned the participants from over 190 countries when he broke down while taking about the disaster that struck his country on Friday night.

Appealing the rich countries to deliver on their promise to commit $100 billion, beginning 2020, to help developing countries cope with the impacts of climate change, Sano asked the nations not to stop "until there is assurance on finance for adaptation".

It is expected that the Indian delegation will also pitch for similar action citing what had happened in India when disasters struck Uttarakhand in June, killing over 5,000 people, and Odisha coast last month leaving lakhs displaced due to Cyclone Phailin.

India is likely to put these points forward while telling the world that the New Delhi is conscious of the danger of global warming and has been playing its part in whatever way it can to deal with climate-damaging aspect of human activities.

Sources familiar to India's stand here, however, made it clear that the poll-bound New Delhi will not, in any case, dilute its position over common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR), where it wants developed countries to take the burden of mitigation and adaptation efforts towards cleaner environment.

"The country, facing general elections early next year, will not agree for anything that may draw undue criticism back home. The issue may not attract attention of common people, but it has potential to fuel anti-government sentiments if New Delhi agrees to anything which may bring it closer to costly technology in due course," said an official.

India, along with other developing countries and BASIC (Brazil, China and South Africa) members, will try to convince developed countries over the next two weeks about the need to evolve a mechanism to guarantee financial assistance to poor nations as compensation for the loss caused by existing level of greenhouse gas emissions by rich countries.

The pledge for $100 billion per annum beginning 2020, meant for adaptation or reduction of future emissions by developing countries, has, however, caused lot of heartburns among the rich nations who want a market-based mechanism to deal with the issue where they want private players to take the lead without government's direct role.

The developing countries, including India, want the developed nations to establish a "loss and damage" mechanism to ensure that the climate-damaging greenhouse gases' emissions are stabilized.

They will emphasize that the mechanism should be based on the premise that the rich nations, who were responsible for high GHG emission during industrialization period, must pay not only for the "damage" caused by them but also for the "loss" which the developing countries might have suffered during their efforts to switch over the new climate-friendly but costly technology.

Warsaw conference, which will conclude on November 22 after ministerial round where environment ministers of most the countries are expected to articulate their respective countries' stand, is being considered as an important step towards finalizing a climate deal in Paris in 2015. Indian environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan will also take part in the ministerial round next week.

The Times of India (12-11-2013)