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EU Will No Longer Commit To Unilateral Climate Targets

European Union environment ministers — responsible for only 11 percent of global carbon emissions — said they would commit to a new phase of the Kyoto climate change pact, on the condition that nations blamed for the rest join up too.

The environment council conclusions, agreed in Luxembourg on Monday, outline the bloc’s negotiating position ahead of the next global climate conference in Durban, South Africa, which starts at the end of November.

“What’s the point of keeping something alive if you’re alone there? There must be more from the 89 percent,” EU Environment Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told Reuters.

The European Union stated the need for a road map that would indicate when the biggest emitters — led by the United States, China and India — would sign up. The milestones on the way, however, were imprecise.

A first commitment phase of the Kyoto Protocol — the only global, legally-binding contract on tackling climate change — ends at the end of next year and analysts say time has run out to get a new world-wide deal in place before then.

The United States signed, but has never ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Developing countries were excluded from the original pact signed in 1997, but have since become major emitters.

As a bloc, the EU has taken a lead with binding EU goals that exceed its Kyoto commitments.

It is in agreement with environmentalists and analysts that unless everyone joins in, it cannot solve global warming.

“If we do that (agree to a second commitment period) without any conditions attached, some would say we have saved Durban, but Durban would not result in one less tonne of carbon dioxide,” Hedegaard told reporters.

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