Skip to comments.US move paves way for new climate change talks
Posted on 12/11/2005 4:32:57 PM PST by cope85
US move paves way for new climate change talks By Fiona Harvey in Montreal
Talks will begin next year on the future of international co-operation on climate change, after the US withdrew its objections to such discussions at the end of a marathon negotiating session on Saturday in Montreal.
The agreement was hailed as a triumph by the UK, which chairs both the Group of Seven leading economies and the European Union. Critics of the United Nations-brokered Kyoto protocol on climate change have called for its demise since it was signed in 1997.
But at the weekend the Kyoto process which requires developed countries to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases relative to 1990 levels by 2012 gained a new lease of life. Kyoto is alive and kicking, said Stavros Dimas, European commissioner for the environment.
A decision to begin discussions may seem inconsequential, but US intransigence in recent years has been such that even the continuation of discussions on the future of the Kyoto protocol which President George W. Bush and the US Senate rejected on grounds it would hurt the economy seemed unlikely.
Critics also point out that the protocol will make little practical difference to greenhouse gas levels: as developing countries have no obligations to cut their emissions, and as emissions from the US have been rising, the treaty will result in only a 1 per cent cut by the time its current provisions expire in 2012.
But much more is at stake. The parent treaty to the Kyoto protocol, the UN framework convention on climate change, is the only binding treaty on climate change that encompasses the globe.
The US has fought hard against the acceptance of the protocol, while several developing countries have also tried to halt it. If they had succeeded, the world would have seen the collapse of global action on climate change within a framework in which progress on cutting greenhouse gases could be measured. With governments not held accountable for meeting emissions reduction targets, there would have been little prospect of rebuilding such a process within at least a decade.
China, the worlds second biggest producer of greenhouse gases, will play a key role in the future of climate change talks. Chinese officials indicated they strongly supported the Kyoto process, despite attempts from the US to divert Beijings focus to its proposed alternative, the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development, announced this summer.
The US had hinted it might be prepared to cut a deal from the start of the ministerial talks last Wednesday. Until this summer, Washington argued that to talk about the future of co-operation on climate change under the UN would be premature.
But Paula Dobriansky, the US under-secretary of state for global affairs, signalled a significant change of direction that could lead to a deal. She said the US would refuse to sign up to formalised discussions that were geared towards a one size fits all approach.
The proposed discussions were expressly framed to sustain a variety of approaches, without resorting to formal negotiations; a series of minor amendments to this effect allowed the US to sign up.
Some environmentalists fear the US may yet use its place at the table to block or stall future progress.
Although this is possible, Richard Kinley, acting head of the UNs Climate Change Secretariat, described the meeting as one of the most productive UN climate change conferences ever.
It also produced reforms to the mechanism by which developed countries fund projects that lower emissions in poor nations, agreed on a compliance regime for the Kyoto protocol and started a process for countries to set future emission reduction targets.
Sounds like the UN is putting a pretty face on, what is for them, a total failure.
Talk all you want - just don't try to foist "Kyoto" or similar junk science on the productive world!
This writer is a propagandist, and this sentence proves it. Of course China likes Kyoto, because it didn't effect them whatever, while it destroyed the US economy. That the writer left this part out while making China look good by supporting the treaty is proof of the propaganda.
um... Kyoto was rejected by Clinton and the Senate under his watch, too, yanno?
precisely, and good catch.