International climate negotiators meeting in Bangkok, Thailand this week have apparently made little progress on agreeing to a “roadmap” or “rule book” for implementing the Paris climate treaty. The Bangkok meeting was added to the schedule of United Nations climate meetings after little progress was made at the annual meeting of the subsidiary bodies of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn in May. The Bangkok meeting is the last major meeting before the twenty-fourth Conference of the Parties (COP-24) meeting in Katowice, Poland in December, which is supposed to finalize a Paris implementation agreement.
As always, the only real issue is money. The Green Climate Fund, which was first proposed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-President Barack Obama at COP-15 in Copenhagen in 2009, is supposed to become fully operational in 2020. Fully operational means that developed countries will provide a total of $100 billion per year to developing countries to help pay for climate adaptation and mitigation (that is, reducing greenhouse gas emissions).
Developing countries have insisted that commitments for full funding of the Green Climate Fund must be part of any agreement reached at COP-24. The Association of Small Island States warned in Bangkok that island states such as Fiji and the Maldives are nearing “the point of no return” unless a lot more funding is immediately forthcoming.
Also as always, there were attempts in Bangkok to deflect blame for the lack of progress in the negotiations to the United States. Harry Cockburn in London’s Independent reported: “ActionAid International, which is monitoring the Bangkok talks said: ‘With a little over 48 hours remaining, developed countries, led by the US have roadblocked negotiations on financing. Most alarming is the complacency of other developed countries as the US seeks to undermine this vital element of the Paris accord. Even parties that want to be seen as climate champions, like those within the EU and Norway, are hiding behind the US and remaining silent.’”