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UN Climate Talks Stalled As Russia Seeks Rule Change

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Reuters

U.N. climate talks in Bonn remained stalled for a fourth day on Thursday as Russia, Belarus and Ukraine sought to address what they said is a lack of formal decision-making rules after the countries were snubbed at a previous meeting.

The two-week talks are tasked with making progress towards agreeing a global climate pact in 2015, but negotiations have gotten off to a slow start due to attempts by the three nations to amend one of the meeting’s many agendas to discuss how future decisions should be made.

“This is of paramount importance for ensuring the soft-landing for a future agreement,” said Oleg Shamanov, Russia’s lead climate negotiator, adding that the 20-year old negotiating process has no formal rules on how to pass law.

“This is a systemic issue. Unless we put our house back in order, we may not be able to guarantee that in 2015 we end up with something productive.”

Decisions taken at the United Nations climate meetings, which are attended by environment and energy mininsters, are normally taken by consensus.

However, the past three annual meetings have spurred claims of underhanded tactics after objections by Bolivia, Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus to decisions launching carbon markets and outlining future emission reduction targets were ignored.

By far the biggest country to be snubbed was Russia at the 2012 talks in Doha, when Qatar’s vice prime minister gavelled through international law that extended emission reduction targets and carbon markets under the Kyoto Protocol.

Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah brought the hammer down on the two-week long talks as Russia’s negotiator was waving furiously just two metres away in a bid to stop passage of the law, which forced harsh targets on Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Christiana Figueres, the U.N.’s climate chief, said a consensus was reached, but Oleg Shamanov, Russia’s head of delegation, called it an “absolutely obvious violation of the procedure”.

The three nations are now considering pulling out of Kyoto.

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