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For example in 2012 six Latn American countries including Peru, Dondisch says: “We don’t see green development as a hurdle, we see
Costa Rica and Panama formed AILAC, which might seem a more it as an area of opportunity.”
obvious home for Mexico.
And South Korea this month launched Asia’s frst natonal carbon
But while Mexico consults with AILAC, its primary allegiance remains market – a “big strike” for the country’s climate policy, Choi says.
with the EIG.
“At the moment, Korean society is very dependent on fossil fuels. By
The EIG is valuable as a “microcosm” of the talks, says Dondisch. “If launching the carbon market, every Korean industry is making some
we can get together and agree on something internally, ofen we can complaint but we want to give them a signal on a long term basis.
get to deals that are acceptable for almost everyone.
“As a country, in partcular without any energy sources, we have to
“That was certainly the case [at the last round of UN talks] in Lima, move towards a low carbon economy.”
where some of the language that you see in the fnal document came Broad partcipaton
out of the EIG.”
In Paris, the group is seeking a legally binding deal with “broad
strength in diversity partcipaton”.
Jai-chul Choi, South Korea’s ambassador for climate change, echoes That means refusing to perpetuate a hard division between rich
that view. It is “a group of diversity” he says, that can help to fnd and poor. Or to be more precise, a division between the “annex 1”
common ground between blocs with diferent interests.
countries expected to cut emissions under the Kyoto Protocol and
“When we have internal consultaton among the EIG, the negotaton the rest.
is very tough,” he says.
Annex 1 is a list of countries who were in the OECD back in 1991
“Korea plays a sort of mediatng role between Switzerland and plus former Soviet states. The EIG agrees with the US that a more
Mexico and fnally we reach a common text.” nuanced view of countries’ climate obligatons is in order.
For example in Lima, Choi says the group helped forge a last-minute “Diferentaton has to refect the realites,” says Perrez. That means
compromise on “loss and damage”. This was the contentous issue emerging economies, with their increasingly substantal emissions,
that dominated the previous year’s talks in Warsaw, of compensaton shouldering some of the responsibility. (For Liechtenstein and
to countries experiencing climate impacts they cannot adapt to. Monaco, with a combined populaton of 75,000, it also means cutng
small countries some slack.)
Switzerland, in common with most of the developed world, was
resistant to its inclusion in the Lima deal, while Mexico was strongly The EIG, with its members including non-annex 1 countries, can make
in favour. that argument with more credibility than a purely developed bloc.
The formula they came up with, which acknowledged the Warsaw China, despite commitng to limit its own emissions, has been
decision without adding to it, was enough to keep the show on the curiously reluctant to require other emerging economies to do the
road. same. In Lima, it contnued to back the “like-minded developing
countries,” which opposed changes to the way diferentaton was
Ambiton framed.
What keeps the group together, despite its members’ diferent
interests, is a determinaton to play a constructve role in the talks. “The outcome of a Paris conference should be balanced in terms of
development need and environmental integrity,” says Choi.
“On certain areas, we have very similar positons,” says Perrez.
“The name ‘environmental integrity group’ has become a guiding “The EIG is in the best positon to facilitate the negotatons due to its
principle.” membership.”
Each country boasts a relatvely ambitous climate policy. South Korea is upping its engagement with China and Singapore, he
In line with the European Union, Switzerland is targetng a 20% cut in
emissions from 1990 levels by 2020. Listening
The group stll has its internal diferences, partcularly on issues like
Mexico has been among the most vocal champions of green growth cash support for poor countries to cut emissions and adapt to climate
and last year became the frst Latn American country to introduce a change.
carbon tax.
They agree on broadening the donor base, with all members
contributng to the UN-backed Green Climate Fund.

But Switzerland was branded “fossil of the day” by NGOs in Lima for
its oppositon to legally binding commitments on climate fnance.
“It was important we didn’t have expectatons that would never be
fulflled,” says Perrez in Switzerland’s defence.
It is not the biggest or most economically mighty group, but its
unique geographic and economic mix mean it can punch above its
“None of us have the impression the world cannot move without us,”
says Perrez. “We have to listen to others outside our group in order
to have an impact.” 73
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