Karela Fry

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The shape of things to come

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Nature newsblogged:

Although complete collapse cannot be ruled out, the general shape of a deal is coming together here as the climate talks head into their final day in Durban, South Africa. It’s not the deal that environmentalists want. It’s certainly not the deal that scientists say would be advisable if the goal really is to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, as stated. But it’s an agreement that could allow ministers to kick the can down the road and claim some form of success.

“There’s a landing strip for a deal in sight,” says Tim Gore, International Climate Change Policy Advisor for Oxfam in the United Kingdom. “What’s missing, of course, is how you ramp up ambitions, and that’s a big question.”

Gore says the European Union and the G77 plus China, the main bloc of developing countries, are converging on a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, which is poised to go dormant at the end of 2012. Similarly, the EU, the United States and the major developing countries such as China, India and Brazil all seem to be talking about 2020 as a time-frame for additional greenhouse gas reductions that would build on the global agreement inked last year in Cancun, Mexico. What we don’t know is how it will come together.

The EU has so far stuck to its position that it won’t go forward with Kyoto unless there is a roadmap for a global deal that brings everybody – including the United States and the major emerging economies – on board for a legally binding treaty. Despite some indications of a shift in its position, China has yet to reveal whether it will allow itself to be bound by international law. And the United States is still arguing that global treaties are overrated, raising concerns that intransigence on the part of the world’s largest historical emitter could once again block progress across the board.

The highly partisan Washington Post wrote:

The United States, China and India could scuttle attempts to save the only treaty governing global warming, Europe’s top negotiator said Friday hours before a 194-nation U.N. climate conference was to close.

After two weeks of negotiations, talks went through the night Thursday with delegates struggling to keep Durban from becoming the graveyard of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

The EU has said it will not renew its emissions reduction pledges, which expire in one year, without agreement to begin work on a treaty to replace the Kyoto accord that would compel all countries to control their emissions, including the United States and China which are the world’s two largest polluters. The U.S. never ratified the protocol, though it has made voluntary efforts to reduce emissions.

Again the attempt to lump India and China in the same basket as the US, which was the country that broke the Kyoto protocol!

The view from India is presented by TOI:

The European Union (EU) on Friday blamed India for blocking a new legally binding agreement, saying New Delhi is maintaining a “relatively tough stand” and thus stopping the countries from arriving at a conclusion in Durban.

India said it is open for discussions if issues of equity — the right to grow — are taken into account.

EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said there are two sticking points with India — the future of the legal form of the agreement and the timeframe in which countries should take the emission cut.

The EU has proposed a “roadmap” for countries to agree to a single legally binding framework by 2015.

Meanwhile there are rumours of a deal-sweetener for the US. Business Green reported:

Diplomats are reported to be on the verge of a major agreement on the formation of an international Green Climate Fund (GCF) that could funnel $100bn a year of investment to clean tech and climate adaptation projects from 2020.

According to various reports, the talks on the formation and governance of the proposed funds are the most advanced section of the complex negotiations, and officials are increasingly hopeful an agreement can be reached.

Parties are said to have agreed on the legal framework for the new fund and made progress on potential financing mechanisms for raising the necessary investment.

They are also reported to have agreed the selection process for the new headquarters, but the main unresolved issue appears to be where the new fund will be located, with both Germany and Mexico lobbying hard to host the headquarters of the new institution.

Overnight reports emerged that the US could pull off a major coup that would result in the fund being located in Washington DC. Sources from Oxfam said they understood the US would host the new fund, but this morning the BBC’s Richard Black Tweeted saying that the NGO was rowing back from those comments.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reported that India is complaining of dirty tactics from the EU as the negotiations enter their tense final hours.

Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan issued a statement accusing the EU of scheduling additional ministerial level meetings late last night at unacceptably short notice.

Indian officials also insisted that, despite reports that Brazil and South Africa will accept a new treaty from 2020, the BASIC group remained united and wants more clarity on what a binding treaty will constitute before it is willing to make any solid commitments to the EU’s roadmap.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

December 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm

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