Reuters: Joining us now is Tom Burke from the Think Tank E3G, he’s also a former UK government advisor on climate change. Many thanks or joining us. Should leaders be slapping themselves on the backs after this? There’s so much talk of progress and reasons for optimism, I mean, same old tune really.
Tom Burke: I think it’s a bit early for them to slap themselves on the back. I think we are in a much better place than you would have thought we would be at the beginning of the week, but we are a a now getting to the real end game, and actually this is when leaders get back involved, not so much up front, but there will be quite a lot of calls now going on, between leaders as they try to overcome the last sticking points in the way of an agreement.
Reuters: Let’s drill that down a bit. What are the major differences between the Nations?
Tom Burke: The obvious one is finance, of course, and really that’s now about what happens after 2020. I think it’s been pretty much accepted, the hundred billion that was promised in Copenhagen, has more or less been delivered, but now what happens? I think that is one of the sticking points. I think there’s another sticking point around the whole question of what kind of regime do you have for verifying that people are keeping their promises? Do you have regular reviews? Do people have to report? Or do they have the option of reporting? There will be debates like that going on right now, and then do people use the same standards for reporting so that you can compare like with like.
Reuters: How worried should we be about developing nations, and what they are putting up in terms of their protests against all of this?
Tom Burke: One of the things that is really interesting and different, that we’ve not seen before, is that it’s no longer a debate between rich and poor countries. There are a lot of very poor countries who really want the world to do a lot more than it is willing to do, because they are vulnerable. They don’t produce very much emissions, but boy do they get hurt by climate change. So we are now seeing a much more complicated relationship. We’ve got developed countries who want to get more done, and really understand the problem, but are a bit reluctant to pay too much. You’ve got some big emerging economies: China, Brazil, India, who are reluctant to constrain development, and who still see it that way. Then you’ve got a lot of very vulnerable countries who really want the rest of us to ‘get on with it’.
Reuters: We see here that the US is doubling the amount it’s giving to help with global warming to nine hundred million dollars, is that nearly enough to help?
Tom Burke: We probably need more than that, but what we’ve seen that’s very interesting from the EU and from the US which is new, is putting money up to pay for insurance for the vulnerable countries, so that they can get some cover to deal with the damage that’s done, because even if we were to stop emissions tomorrow, there’s still going to be damage done to people’s economies by a changing climate.