132 countries walk out of UN climate talks

Disagreement over compensation for extreme climate events tore a rift between rich and poor nations

Published November 20, 2013 1:57PM (EST)

With just two days to go, this year's international climate negotiations are not going well, to say the least. The coal industry attempted to steal the spotlight, Japan announced that it was no longer going to try to meet its emissions goals, and Poland, the country hosting the talks, fired its environment minister halfway through.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports, a bloc consisting of 132 of the world's poorest countries walked out of talks concerning compensation for extreme climate events like Typhoon Haiyan.

The G77 and China group coordinated the walkout after rich nations, including the U.S. the EU and Australia, refused to debate the issue until 2015. Australia, in particular, was accused of not taking the talks seriously: According to a spokeswoman for Climate Action Network, its delegates "wore T-shirts and gorged on snacks throughout the negotiation."

According to Saleemul Huq, the scientist whose work on loss and damage from extreme climate events helped put the issue on the agenda, "the whole debate went to waste."

By Lindsay Abrams

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Australia Climate Change Climate Talks Typhoon Haiyan United Nations