Climate talks hijacked by US-China differences: EUDecember 7th, 2011 - 10:14 pm ICT by IANS
Durban, Dec 7 (IANS) The rift between countries at the UN climate conference here became sharper Wednesday with the European Union (EU) blaming the US and China for hijacking the talks over their differences on a legally binding treaty.
Terming as “not new” the Chinese proposal to accept conditional legal emission cuts post 2020, the US said conditions are not right at present for an agreement on a legal treaty.
Adding to the problem was Canada, which termed as “past” the Kyoto Protocol - the only legal regime to check carbon emissions.
A 138-page draft on long-term action by countries was circulated Wednesday, which included the India’s proposal of equity.
“The UN conference has been hijacked by the ping-pong blame game by US-China and it is not tolerable as it is blocking the overall process,” said Jo Leinen, chairman of the European Parliament delegation to the Durban talks.
Leinen said that China has shown some movement but its commitment must be put to test. “We urgently need countries to sign up for a roadmap that will lead to agreement on a binding global pact by 2015,” he said.
EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard appealed to all big emitters to come forward and clear their positions. “We are not asking countries to be specific of how much they commit but what they commit. It helps to solve a big problem when you have a legal regime,” Hedegaard said.
However, the US continued to stick to its stand that it won’t agree to a legally binding regime right now.
“We think conditions are not right for the agreement,” said US special envoy on climate change Todd Stern.
China had announced that it was ready for a legal commitment post 2020, but with some pre-conditions, while India said that it is open to discussion on a legal framework if issues of equity — the right to grow, technology transfer to adapt to energy efficient measures and climate funding — are included.
Besides, countries continue to remain divided on the Kyoto Protocol, with Canada walking out.
“We have long said we will not take on a second commitment under the Kyoto Protocol. We will not obstruct or discourage those that do, but Kyoto for Canada is in the past,” said Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent.
As Kent was reading his speech, a group of youths angry over his proposal stood up, turning their backs towards him, with their T-shirts reading ‘Turn your back on Canada’.
They were ushered out of the room by security guards.
Countries like Russia and Japan have also been vocal that they don’t want to extend Kyoto beyond 2012 while the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) group, along with other developing countries, has been pushing for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
The small island nations have said that they want the deal right now and cannot wait till 2020.
Civil society groups appealed to the countries to come together in solving the problem. “We appeal to India, China, US and EU to act together in saving the planet,” said Srinivas Krishnaswamy of Climate Action Network (CAN).
(Richa Sharma can be reached at email@example.com)
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Tags: binding treaty, blame game, carbon emissions, climate change, climate conference, climate talks, connie hedegaard, durban, emission cuts, emitters, european parliament delegation, global pact, kyoto protocol, legal commitment, legal framework, legal regime, leinen, page draft, ping pong, roadmap