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Calling the bluff in Durban

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China called the US bluff on climate negotiation, according to WSJ reports:

Speaking to reporters Monday, the country’s chief negotiator in Durban, Xie Zhenhua, said major economies including China should be legally obligated to curb greenhouse gas emissions after 2020.

“We accept a legally binding arrangement,” he said.

Mr. Xie, however, said China would agree to binding cuts only if the U.S. and other powerful nations take aggressive steps in the next decade to address climate change and some key negotiators wondered whether China was throwing down the gauntlet to shift pressure on to Western countries to address climate change.

Rogue nations who are planning to walk out of the Kyoto accord will have to rethink their strategies now. Back-room negotiations with the EU seems to have opened one possible road ahead, reports the Guardian:

EU plans for a global treaty to legally bind all countries to slash greenhouse emissions by 2020 appear to be – just – on track after China and Brazil, two of the biggest developing countries, indicated they were prepared to consider the proposed accord, with conditions.

As senior ministers from more than 190 countries flew in to the UN meeting in South Africa, to take over the negotiations from officials, the energy secretary, Chris Huhne, arrived on Monday saying there was a “real chance” that the stuttering climate talks could be revived.

With talks entering their seventh day, the EU now leads nearly 100 mostly small developing countries in calls for a treaty to replace the existing Kyoto protocol and to sign up all states to emission cuts.

Dec 7, 2011

ET adds:

The leader of the China delegation and the vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Xie Zhenhua said, “together with other countries the BASIC will make due contribution to deal with climate change. While China reiterated the five pre-conditions, including a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, to consider participation in a legally binding regime, India offered another reiteration of that position.

“Some countries have projected the question of a legally-binding agreement in future as a panacea for climate change. This is completely off the mark. This question confuses implementation with ambition. There is an ambition gap because the Kyoto Protocol parties have not fulfilled their political obligations. There are more in the wings that are preparing to announce their intention to forsake their international obligation. We need to ensure that the parties meet their commitments whether under the Convention or the Kyoto Protocol,” India’s environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan said.

India has questioned the timing of the demand for a new global treaty. It has argued that developing countries should not be asked to “make a payment” everytime “an existing obligation becomes due on the part of the developed countries.” Natarajan has made it clear that India has an open mind on the issue, but perhaps it is not the right time to consider a new agreement.

Xie endorsed the position articulated by Natarajan and reiterated that the Chinese position was not a new one. “On legally binding, I fully endorse the position articulated by the minister from India. The five pre-conditions that China has set out are not new points. These are there in the Bali Action Plan, Copenhagen Accord and the Cancun Agreements. It is time to honour these commitments.”

Brazil, which was represented by Ambassador Louis Alfredo Figuereido, said that his country was “willing to walk the extra mile to ensure a second commitment period.”

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

December 6, 2011 at 4:34 am

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