UN climate talks in Poland have ended on a mixed note, after two weeks of discussions that highlighted the gap between rich and poor. Environment ministers from nearly 200 countries were urged to put aside their differences and get on with it by Nobel Prize laureate Al Gore.
The goal is to forge a new climate change treaty to replace Kyoto by the time they meet again in Copenhagen a year from now: “We have a work programme for next year agreed and it’s going to lead to intensified negotiations,” said United Nations Climate spokesman Yvo de Boer. “We have managed to launch the adaptation fund which is of critical importance to developing countries.” However, critics have slammed a 60-million euro fund agreed on by rich countries to help developing nations cope with the effects of climate change. Kim Carstensen is director of the Global Climate Initiative at WWF International: “I think we have seen the same problems in this conference that we have seen all of this year in the negotiations, which is that there is a gap, a divide between the rich countries and the developing countries. There is far too little money out there for adaptation for dealing with climate change problems in the poorest countries, for the poorest people that get flooded or who are suffering from drought or other things,” says Carstensen. According to UN projections, poor nations will need tens of billions of dollars a year by 2030 to deal with climate change. Poland spent 24 million euros just to host this conference.