Global Trends by Martin Khor
Monday 6 December 2010
Tensions rise at mid-point in
After a week marked by
The most tangible outcome is expected to be a decision to establish a new multilateral climate fund to assist developing countries to take their climate actions. There is already broad agreement on this, but details need to be filled in next year.
Also on the table is the creation of a new “technology mechanism” in the UN climate convention that has two parts – a technology executive committee and a technology centre with networks.
But here is the snag – the
This linkage of issues is a major problem. Mitigation
is the most complex and controversial area, involving so many issues
in which countries have differences that appear impossible to bridge
this coming week. Thus, success may well elude the
The big issue in mitigation is the future shape of the climate regime. The developed countries are supposed to commit to a second round of emission cuts in the Kyoto Protocol, beginning immediately after the first period ends in 2012.
But at the opening session of the Kyoto Protocol
meeting last week,
This gave the world media something to write about
in what would have been a dull week of dry negotiations. In fact
To the developing countries, the legally binding
protocol is the symbol of the commitment of developed countries to take
the lead in cutting emissions. The abandoning of the protocol by
Under this protocol, developed countries have to make legally binding emission-reduction commitments as individual countries and collectively reach an ambitious target that is based on what science requires, which is at least 25-40% by 2020 compared to 1990, or more realistically the 40-50% emissions cut as demanded by the developing countries.
In contrast is the new “pledge and review” system,
championed by the
Acceptance of this system would mean the killing of the Kyoto Protocol and its replacement by a system of voluntary pledges by developed countries.
At the first week of the
But most developed countries appear firm in wanting
to jump ship and join the
They also pressured the developing countries,
especially big ones like
The developing countries are willing to do more than in the past, but they resent being pressurised to take on new obligations when the developed countries are planning for themselves a “great escape” from their own commitments.
How it will end next Friday is anyone's guess
at this mid-point.
One further complication is the process of negotiations.
In the first week, there was a fear that the host country,
Such an exclusive process is viewed with great
suspicion by the delegates. It was the non-transparent and exclusive
nature of the process at the
Last Saturday, the Mexican foreign minister responded to the concerns by promising that there would not be any exclusive process that would undermine the open meetings.
This caused a collective sigh of relief from delegates
that do not want a repeat of the
It will be an interesting week ahead, in which the fate of the Earth will continue to be negotiated.