Roadmap: EU pushing for a 2015 agreement

2011-12-06 00:00

THE volume got turned up at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP17) taking place in Durban as heads of state and ministers began arriving yesterday for the second and final week.

“We are beginning to see cards on the table,” said COP17 president Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister.

The cards played most forcefully were those of the European Union, which is pushing for a roadmap leading to a legally binding agreement by 2015 that would be implemented as soon as possible and by 2020 at the latest.

This agreement would account for 100% of greenhouse gas emissions and not the 25% or less currently accounted for by the Kyoto Protocol

“We must agree of on a roadmap that involves action,” said Polish environment minister Marcin Korolec. He said the EU supports a sign-up to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol as “ part of a transition to a global regime”.

Connie Hedegaard, head of the EU Commission for Climate Action, said the EU not only supports the Kyoto Protocol, but has over-achieved with regard to its targets. “EU legislation is built on Kyoto Protocol principles,” she said.

She added that the EU only accounts for 11% of global emissions, so it would be hard to see a second commitment period with only a few other countries signing up labelled “a big success for the climate and the environment”.

Russia, Japan and Canada have indicated they will not sign up for second time.

“So the family of countries is shrinking,” she said.

Hedegaard said all the least developed countries support the roadmap. “It is supported by countries suffering the most.”

“We can’t have the big emitters only acting on a voluntary basis,” she said.

The African Group is prepared to sign up for a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol and to go with the EU roadmap, according to chair of the African Group of negotiators, Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He said the EU and the African Group have a lot in common.

“The EU has already de facto signed up to a second commitment period of the protocol based on its internal legislation.”

But he urged the EU to do more. “We want them to say yes to the Kyoto Protocol and also to raise their level of emissions [to be cut] to more than their stated 20% — to 30% or even 40%.”

Mpanu Mpanu said the African Group would like the developing countries “to show climate leadership — in the same way they have shown economic leadership, political leadership, democratic leadership and, sometimes, military leadership.”

• feature1@witness.co.za

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