By John Parnell
The new universal climate deal could cause splits between developing countries as lumbering emerging economies come up against more vulnerable nations.
As governments prepare to meet again in Bonn to advance work on the new 2015 deal, an East African negotiator told RTCC that some of the traditional negotiating groups could find themselves wanting different things.
The negotiator, speaking on condition of anonymity, said this could have an effect on some blocs, such as the G77 and China. It includes some of the poorest nations in the world alongside large emerging economies like Brazil and Saudi Arabia.
“The new deal will definitely be an opportunity for new groupings. Over the last ten years the GDPs of particular countries have changed. The impacts of climate change have been felt differently in different countries.
“Some countries have been hard hit. Initially they were walking together but climate change has impacted people differently than anticipated and that could shape the conventional groupings. Even if it doesn’t happen formally, it will shape things,” they said.
“The usual groupings might take a turn and be driven by other interests. The main input that shapes the groupings will be the impact of climate change. One example we have seen is the work between Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).”
The negotiator also said the groups were more important to smaller nations who have to follow some tracks of the talks through other countries within a particular grouping.
“The nature of the process is definitely unfair on small countries for the simple reason that there are so many issues to follow and various meetings in between. Parties with smaller delegations end up following some issues through other delegations, not by participating directly.
“The bigger delegations, without mentioning names, could have two or three people following a particular issue. Sometimes they will have someone working on an issue at any given moment in time, so a colleague replaces them they are updated and continue following up,” they added.
Despite these concerns the negotiator acknowledged that it remains by far the best setting to discuss the international response to climate change.
“It’s definitely not easy, but it’s the only forum to keep covering all these issues. Climate change is evolving and people keep creating new ideas. It’s the only central forum to bring people together.”
Countries will meet in Warsaw in November for the COP19 summit where progress on setting emission reduction targets could be accelerated.