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Hundreds of thousands of people are demonstrating over the weekend against political inaction on climate change even as negotiations carry on laying the groundwork for COP24

Bangkok Climate Change Conference
Environmental activists protest in front of the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC) in Bangkok where the Bangkok Climate Change Conference is taking place

With a day to go until the Bangkok climate talks wrap up on Sunday, September 9, 2018, the glaring void of finance is staring the world in the face and threatens to erode trust in the negotiations. Some progress has been made on efforts to trim down the bulky rulebook text into a clear outline with options, but progress has been uneven.

The weekend more than 820 actions, involving hundreds and thousands of demonstrators, have been planned in 91 countries under the Rise for Climate movement even as discussions carry on in the negotiating rooms to lay the groundwork for COP24.

Committing to predictable, transparent and sustainable finance with real money for real action underpins trust in the Paris regime and is critical for averting a crisis in the months ahead. The European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Canada and Japan must step out from the shadow of the United States and match actions with words. Support to fully implement conditional aspects of the nationally determined contributions is an integral part of the Paris Agreement and the solution to strengthen overall ambition from all countries.

Discussions on the Global Stocktake, compliance and transparency made promising headways but developed countries must realise that without movement on finance success at COP24 will be at stake. Negotiators must feel the heat to untangle the technical issues in the next two days and provide clarity of options, so ministers can’t hide behind technical complexities when they arrive in Poland for final discussions. They must feel the pressure to come good on supporting common sense rules and processes that enable predictable, transparent and impactful finance.

Brandon Wu, ActionAid USA Director of Policy & Campaigns, said: “So far in Bangkok, it looks like rich countries are making a concerted effort to avoid any conversations that would ensure they live up to their existing obligations for providing climate finance. Of course, the US is setting a bad example, but what’s especially troubling is that other governments from the EU and Norway are hiding behind the US rather than providing any real leadership. Developed countries do not seem to be negotiating in good faith, which is jeopardizing the negotiations as a whole. This not only puts a huge question mark over the possibility of achieving the goal of the Paris Agreement, but also puts the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable communities around the world at risk.”

“There are two things needed for the Paris Agreement to prove effective, one is a robust rulebook to translate the accord’s pledges into action, the other is finance to help poor countries deliver their national emission reduction plans and adapt to a changed climate.  In Bangkok rich countries like the UK and Canada are trying to avoid the finance element which is in danger of paralysing negotiations. It’s vital that these nations stop dancing to the tune of Donald Trump which will only result in damage to the negotiations and tragedy for the world’s poorest people,” Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid’s International Climate Lead, said.

Civil society organisations have called on Polish Presidency to lead diplomatic efforts ahead of Katowice and work towards a comprehensive COP24 package that includes a strong rulebook and a meaningful outcome on the Talanoa Dialogue with stronger climate targets by 2020 that is informed by the IPCC 1.5C Report. The report, which is due in a month, will be a klaxon on the growing urgency of the climate crisis.

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