EU road map gains favour at COP17

2011-11-30 07:31

The European Union’s plan for a Durban road map is fast gathering speed at the COP17 climate talks in Durban.

At a press conference yesterday afternoon, South African Environment Minister Edna Molewa revealed that the road map was finding favour in the developing world.

According to Molewa, three critical groups in the developing world grouping the African Union, the G77 Plus China and the critical Basic group – consisting of major emitters China, Brazil, India and South Africa – had discussed the EU’s proposal and agreed with it in principal.

“The EU road map is a good road map,” said Molewa. But she said all the groups have to deal with “conditionalities” in the road map. Brazil and Argentina had been tasked to work with the EU in developing the road map further.

A road map will also have to find favour with rich countries such as the US before negotiators can even consider adopting it at the end of next week.

Molewa was quick to add that the future Kyoto Protocol was one of the big issues that had to be dealt with in a possible Durban road map, if the EU proposal was to be adopted.

But Molewa might have let too much out of the bag a bit too soon in explaining the developing world’s attitude towards the road map.

South African officials in the department of international relations and department of international relations and cooperation were less than happy that Molewa had revealed so much about the thoughts of the developing world on the plan.

An informed source confirmed to City Press that international relations minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane had a delicate tightrope to walk at the climate talks as COP17 president and could not be seen to be sympathetic and partial to any camp at the talks, if she is to built trust at the talks.

Thus the South African diplomatic corps are very conscious of the way the South Africa delegation handles itself.

Nevertheless, the EU road map might just be the hope a successful outcome for Durban can be pinned on.

In broad terms the road map pushes a legal binding agreement to be signed in 2015 by all major emitters including China and India, and which can then be implemented in 2020.

The EU believes that there will be lot of political momentum from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report that will push nations into action.

The IPCC’s report is due to be released in 2014.

Business Day reported that the EU commissioner for climate change, Connie Hedegaard, has a mandate from the 27-member bloc to push hard for the adoption of the proposed road map.

At a press conference on Monday the EU’s main negotiator, Artur Runge-Metzge, said the EU supported the Kyoto Protocol and a second commitment period, but that the controversial protocol was not enough by a long shot.

Runge-Metzge said only about 15% of current world emissions were covered by the protocol.

Developing nations, who are supportive of a second commitment period, warned that even though Kyoto might be imperfect, it was the only legally binding treaty the world had at the moment.

» Follow our COP17 coverage here.


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