Wed, Oct 07, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Climate talks ‘sabotaged’ by developed countries

‘LACK OF POLITICAL WILL’ As 180 countries started a second week of a climate meeting, developing nations showed frustration at the slow pace of the negotiations

THE GUARDIAN , BANGKOK

The US and other developed countries are attempting to “fundamentally sabotage” the Kyoto Protocol and all-important international negotiations over its next phase, China and 130 developing countries said in coordinated statements at UN climate talks in Bangkok on Monday.

As 180 countries started a second week of talks, the developing countries showed their deep frustration at the slow pace of the negotiations on a global climate deal, which are planned to be concluded in two months’ time in Copenhagen.

“The reason why we are not making progress is the lack of political will by Annex 1 [industrialized] countries. There is a concerted effort to fundamentally sabotage the Kyoto Protocol,” said Yu Qingtai (于慶泰), China’s special representative on climate talks.

Yu’s comments were echoed by Lumumba Di-Aping of Sudan, who chairs the G77, the UN’s largest intergovernmental organization of developing states. It represents 130 countries at the talks.

“Feelings are running high in the G77,” he said. “It is clear now that the rich countries want a deal outside the Kyoto agreement. It would be based on a total rejection of their historical responsibilities. This is an alarming development.”

The angry statements follow a revelation by Carol Browner — US President Barack Obama’s energy adviser — that she did not expect the US Senate to vote on its crucial global warming bill before the Copenhagen talks.

That will severely limit Obama’s room for maneuvering at the summit and is the first time the White House has made such an admission.

The G77-plus-China group is incensed that rich countries appear to be seeking to establish an agreement that would force developing countries to cut emissions, but allow rich countries to do little.

In the talks, the US has said it wants a new approach that would move away from a legally binding world agreement to one where individual countries pledged cuts in their national emissions without binding timetables and targets. It is a change from the top-down approach of Kyoto, in which total emissions targets are determined by the science, to one in which individual countries pledge their own emissions cuts.

This is seen as undermining the Kyoto framework, which took many years to build, and has until now been the foundation for committing all countries to cut their emissions. The US team in Bangkok declined to respond to the criticism.

Developed countries have so far refused to show their hand on what their emission cuts should be. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that to keep below a 2ºC rise in temperatures, they need to cut their emissions by 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020, compared with 1990 levels. But developing countries are calling for an aggregate cut of at least 40 percent.

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