As tensions grew at the United Nations (UN) climate change talks it emerged on Thursday that the world’s major emerging economies, led by China and SA, were calling for a “binding” amendment to the Kyoto Protocol requiring rich countries to slash carbon pollution by more than 40% .
A previously unseen 11-page draft “Copenhagen Accord”, to be posted on the website of French daily Le Monde, was finalised on 30 November after a closed-door meeting in Beijing between China, India, SA and Brazil. The initiative, led by Beijing, was conceived as a rebuttal by developing countries to another backroom accord hammered out by Denmark, the host country.
The text embraces the objective of limiting by 2100 the rise of global temperatures to 2º C compared with pre-industrial times, a goal shared by developed countries. But the emerging giants also called on rich countries — committed to CO² reductions under Kyoto of at least 5% by 2012 — to “multiply by eight” that promise for a second, seven-year period running up to 2020.
The draft says these commitments must be made “mainly through domestic measures” and not through the purchase of so- called “offsets” outside their borders in developing countries. It also stipulates that any developed country not constrained under Kyoto in effect, the US should take on the same legally binding commitments.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that to help keep global temperatures increases below the 2º C threshold, rich nations would have to cut their carbon emissions by 25%-40% by 2020 compared to 1990.The four emerging economies — which account for nearly half of the world’s CO² output — also reject all “unilateral fiscal measures” by industrialised countries, such as the carbon import taxes in pending US legislation.
On finance, they call for the creation of a special fund under the authority of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change answerable directly to member countries.
The US, Japan, the European Union and other industrialised countries have said that money to help poorer countries cope with climate change — which could reach hundreds of billions of dollars a year within a decade — should be funnelled through existing institutions. SA has said that as pledges stand, industrialised countries appear to expect developing countries to bear 78% of the emissions burden.
Lumumba Stanislaus Di- Aping, chairman of the Group of 77 (G-77), on Thursday repeated his call for countries to reconsider the 2º C target, as this would mean a temperature rise for Africa of 3,5º C -4º C, according to the UN climate panel’s report.
“The world has enough resources to address climate change in a more committed manner. The International Monetary Fund has 200bn in special drawing rights that are not being used. That money should be made available. “Without the US, the rest of the world can still issue 200bn to save the world, so why are you not doing it?” he asked. “I don’t think that’s the spirit of leadership required at this moment.”
On Di-Aping’s call for the 2º C target to be reconsidered, SA’s lead negotiator, Alf Wills, said the G-77 was not unified on this issue, as oil-producing nations would prefer a less ambitious target while the small island states, which are especially vulnerable, would prefer a 1,5º C target. The target of 2º C was a middle- of-the-road approach, he said.
“It’s important we don’t get diverted by a red herring and lose the action needed to address the problem. “The science is that 2º C is linked to a particular concentration of greenhouse gases, which is 450 parts per million (ppm). The existing concentration is 390ppm, which leaves 60ppm by 2050. The debate is around how you share this across the whole world, rich, poor and developing countries.” Joanne Yawitch, a member of SA’s team, said of rumours of an African group walkout: “There are many conspiracy theories doing the rounds. It’s a negotiating process, where people with different views are trying to agree. People use tactics, and that’s not … dirty dealing.”
Source: (www.businessday.co.za 20091211)
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