Walkout in UN meet over climate compensation

Many of the world's poorest nations are the most vulnerable to the ravages of climate change. This is why the G77+China bloc want the "loss and damage" mechanism in place.

The mechanism would help poor states develop technology, capability and a knowledge base to help them mitigate climate risks and provide financial assistance for recovery and rehabilitation.

This is only right, say developing nations, because richer states like the United States, Australia, Canada and European Union countries bear historic responsibility for global warming; some of them are currently among the highest emitters of carbon per capita. (READ: US owes us climate debt – PH environmentalists)

But the rich nations say developing countries should just make do with existing disaster relief structures that already channel aid where and when needed.

But the developing bloc says existing institutions do not have the capability and resources to deal with issues of loss and damage, particularly for slow-onset risks like land-encroaching sea level rise and worsening droughts and floods.

The bloc also insists that no amount of mitigation and adaptation will prevent climate losses in vulnerable countries.

The compensation is "a platform by which the Philippines and other vulnerable countries can address what we call the 3rd wave of climate change when countries are no longer able to adapt because the losses are just too overwhelming. We need a system to acknowledge these losses," said Saño.

The climate change conference, known as the Conference of Parties or CoP19, happened right after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) devastated the Philippines, killing more than 4,000 and damaging P12.6 billion worth of agriculture and infrastructure. Days after, Somalia was battered by a ferocious storm.

The planet is already 0.85 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than in 1880, according to the UN's International Panel on Climate Change. The UN aims to keep the increase in temperature within 2 degrees Celsius. Anything warmer than this will be "catastrophic" for humans.

For this reason, major carbon emitting nations must fulfill commitments to cut back on their emissions by 2020. But some countries such as Japan and Australia are now saying they won't fulfill these goals. (READ: Japan scales back greenhouse gas emissions target: official) – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.