Talks on climate deal remain bogged down

June 9th, 2009 - 7:31 pm ICT by IANS  

By Joydeep Gupta
Bonn, June 9 (IANS) Officials from 182 countries Tuesday started their second reading of a draft global agreement to combat climate change, while delegates admitted in private and NGOs charged in public that no progress was being made.

The negotiators gathered here to advance the draft stuck to their old positions, said Srinivas Krishnaswamy of the NGO Greenpeace India, with industrialised countries “offering very little beyond their old Kyoto Protocol commitments and developing countries saying nothing about the action they will take” to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG).

The emissions, mostly of carbon dioxide, are leading to climate change, which is already affecting farm output, triggering droughts, floods and storms more frequent and more severe and raising the sea level. But governments are reluctant to reduce GHG emissions as that will increase energy generation costs.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialised countries except the US are to collectively reduce their GHG emissions by five percent between 2008 and 2012, compared to 1990 levels. The expected Copenhagen deal to be debated in December is for the period beyond 2012.

“We do hope that governments will go forward from the same old blah blah blah positions,” Krishnaswamy said, speaking on behalf Climate Action Network South Asia, part of a global grouping of over 400 NGOs.

There was more gloom in the corridors of the conference venue as word trickled out that Japan would unveil its GHG emission reduction plan Wednesday, under which it would offer a 14 percent reduction by 2020, compared to 2005 emission levels.

Kimiko Hirata of the Japanese NGO Kiko Network said “by shifting the baseline from 1990 to 2005, Japan is actually offering to reduce its emissions only by seven percent, only one percent more than what it had committed under the Kyoto Protocol. The prime minister is responding to industry, not science.”

India had last weekend criticised the expected Japanese plan, with the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Shyam Saran telling IANS that Japan’s attempt to shift the baseline from 1990 would have an adverse impact on what developing countries would do to combat climate change.

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