COP17 talks burn midnight oil

2011-12-10 00:00

NEGOTIATIONS look set to last through today at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban. The previous session ended at 4 am yesterday, according to the European Union’s Connie Hedegaard.

“After a long night an agreement is within reach that is globally and legally binding,” she told a press conference. “But if there is no further movement from four in the morning there will be no deal in Durban.”

Hedegaard said the EU’s roadmap is at the core of intensive negotiations. The roadmap towards a legally binding agreement to include 100% of carbon emissions is dependent on countries signing up to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. However, Hedegaard said time was running out. “Success or failure in Durban hangs on those not committed to the roadmap. The world is waiting for them.”

The U.S., China and India appear to be hanging back from making any commitment.

Earlier the African Group representative, Tosi Panu Panu of the DRC, said negotiations were stuck on the legal form of the agreement and the timeline to be followed in its implantation.

Panu Panu denied there is a split in the Basic group with South Africa and Brazil moving towards the EU’s position. He said China is being more open than expected. “But if the U.S. are not willing to [commit], why should China?”

He was clearly not enamoured with the EU’s tactics in the negotiations. He said they were playing “hardball” and their behaviour was “aggressive.”

At the time of going to press negotiations were continuing. If no outcome had been agreed by 2 am, negotiations could reopen this morning and last until late in the day.

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