EU insists that it will sign on to Kyoto II only if emerging economies agreed to binding targets by 2015 and start talks for it right away – a substantial shift from its position a year ago. But its attempt to formulate a ‘coalition of the willing’ seems doomed.
Consensus eluded a meeting of key countries on climate change, including India, EU, China and the US, called by Spain along with South Africa and Mexico at Madrid recently.
The meeting called days before the official UN climate talks start in Durban ended without agreement between countries on the need to kick-start negotiations on a new climate compact in Durban which puts binding commitments on emerging economies as well.
While the talks were an opportunity to hear out each other’s positions ahead of the South African negotiations, an attempt to forge a common position for public consumption by the hosts failed as several countries including the US, China and India – although for different reasons – opposed talks on a new compact that binds a country to similar international commitments for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The next informal round of talks is going to be held under the aegis of the Major Economies Forum that the US hosts.
The US going into presidential elections and hammered by recession has made it clear that it was not ready to begin such a process. It’s not part of the Kyoto Protocol and indicated that even if other developed countries did sign on to the second phase of Kyoto Protocol it would be unable to put comparable emission reduction targets on the table formally.
The US, which has opposed the demand for equity in climate talks, wants an agreement on ‘symmetry’ of international commitments for developing and developed countries before it accepts the move for a new global climate compact. The US wants emerging economies to be on the same page based on current emission levels but does not accept responsibility for its or the rest of the developed world’s historical emissions. It has instead asked for a ‘graduation criteria’ that would break the current differentiation between rich and developing countries and set up a process of including emerging economies in the group that bears binding commitments.
EU insisted that it would sign on to Kyoto II only if emerging economies agreed to binding targets by 2015 and start talks for it right away – a substantial shift from its position a year ago. The attempt to formulate a ‘coalition of the willing’ seemed doomed. Some countries had proposed that those who wish to sign on a new global compact should get on with it leaving even major emitters like the US out if they are not willing. But this has not found buyers.
The BASIC countries – China, India, South Africa and Brazil — have already taken a position that any decision on climate change actions beyond 2020 must be based on the next report of UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which will be submitted in 2014, and a review of the fulfillment of commitments under the UN climate convention to be done in 2015.