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Developing Countries Stage Protest At U.N. Climate Talks; U.N. Report Shows African Countries Vulnerable

“The United Nations climate talks [in Warsaw] are bogging down over the old divide between rich and poor nations on the question of who should pay when climate-related disaster strikes, with developing nations staging a symbolic walkout early Wednesday in protest at what they consider inadequate financial support from wealthy countries,” the New York Times reports. “The new catchphrase is ‘loss and damage,’ shorthand for the fight over financing for the costs of rising seas, powerful storms and persistent drought,” the newspaper writes, adding, “And the issue of whether the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change should be modified to require rich nations to bear the cost of disasters exacerbated by global warming is threatening to torpedo the Warsaw talks, which are meant to prepare a global climate agreement to be signed in 2015” (Jolly, 11/20). “The G77+China group of 133 developing countries negotiating a new international deal … to combat climate change walked out of the talks in the wee hours of Wednesday morning to protest developed countries’ reluctance to commit to loss and damage,” Inter Press Service writes (Ciobanu, 11/20). Discussions “did pick up later, and Todd D. Stern, the United States climate delegate, expressed confidence during a news conference that the conflict would not cause the discussions to fail,” the New York Times states (11/20).

In related news, “African countries are increasingly vulnerable to climate change and could struggle to feed and defend their people as temperatures rise, according to a major U.N. report” released at the conference, The Guardian reports. “It will cost Africa approximately $350 billion a year to adapt its farming and infrastructure to climate change if governments fail to hold temperatures to less than 2C and allow them to rise to about 4C, according to the report” from the U.N. Environment Programme, the newspaper states. “‘The plight of Africa is not of our making,’ said Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, lead negotiator for the Africa group of nations,” The Guardian writes. “The developed countries have caused the problem, and Africa [is] asking [those countries] for the funds to help but so far they are not forthcoming,” Mpanu-Mpanu added, the newspaper continues (Vidal, 11/20).