Huge battle ahead for climate negotiators

2009-12-12 13:55

A long and drawn out battle lies ahead over a new global climate


The first draft document, put on the table on Friday, will serve as

a rough guide for a new agreement between the close to 200 member countries of

the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

According to the draft document governments must reduce their

greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% (of 1990 levels) by 2050 with medium

term reductions by 2020 of between 20-45% for developed countries.

Developing countries are also expected to make wide-scale

adaptations to reduce their emissions by 2020.

The draft document stipulates that fast developing countries will

have to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 15-20% of existing levels.

The first week of negotiations in Copenhagen was marked by salvos,

including between America and China, over who must take responsibility to stave

off the threatening climate crisis.

Tempers are running high before the ministerial segment of the

meeting which kicks off next week with about 110 heads of state arriving for

high level talks.

Amongst them will be President Jacob Zuma and American President

Barack Obama.

Developing countries like South Africa are prepared to do their bit

to halt climate change but only if rich countries provide technological and

financial support.

The G77+China (a group of about 130 developing countries) said

historical responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions cannot be


If there is any curtailing for developing countries the group wants

assurances of a so-called rebate which takes into account their development

challenges and also want the rights to any atmospheric carbon dioxide capacity.

At this stage these countries’ rightful carbon dioxide capacity was

being taken over by developed countries, said Chinese ambassador Qingtai


Meanwhile it is at this stage still unclear what legal form the

climate agreement will take - with some governments wanting two protocols and

others just one.

NGOs say the draft document holds some promise but also many


Oxfam International has, for example, warned that a lack of

commitment to long-term financial support could hamper any agreement being


CAN International, a coalition of about 450 NGOs the amounts being

discussed by rich countries is just a drop in the ocean of what is needed.

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