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Kyoto protocol needs second commitment phase: China

Climate: LatAm bloc pushes on Kyoto Protocol
Cancun, Mexico (AFP) Dec 3, 2010 - UN climate talks in Cancun ran into a fresh problem on Friday as a group of leftwing Latin American countries said a global deal had to be linked to a fresh round of commitments to the carbon-cutting Kyoto Protocol. "If there is no second period of commitment, it would be very difficult to have a balanced package in this negotiations," said Venezuelan negotiator Claudia Salerno. The so-called ALBA group, which comprises Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Dominica, issued the warning on the fifth day of talks taking place under the UN flag.

The 194-party talks have until December 10 to unblock an agreement for tackling climate change beyond 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol's present roster of commitments expire. The Protocol is hugely supported by developing countries and has been championed by the European Union (EU). But it has been rejected by the United States, and it does not include China, a developing country, in targeted emissions cuts, which only apply to rich-nation signatories. As a result, the present roster of emissions pledges covers only 30 percent of the global output of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

Japan on Monday said it would not support a second commitment period beyond 2012 because it made "no sense" without a wider application. Canada and Russia are also reluctant to sign up for an extension, say delegates. "When you find that on the other side of the table they say they want to go to the beach because they say there's nothing to do and they're just wasting their time then we in the ALBA group will not allow an action where these countries get away with this and make no commitment," Salerno said. Scientists say unbridled burning of fossil fuels has brought concentrations of carbon dioxide, a colorless, odorless and tasteless "greenhouse" gas, to record concentrations. Without urgent action to stem these emissions, the world is on track for worsening drought, floods, storms and rising seas, spelling a threat for hundreds of millions of people, they warn.
by Staff Writers
Cancun, Mexico (AFP) Dec 4, 2010
China stressed the need Saturday for a global climate pact that sets a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.

A four-day minister-level haggle kicks off in Cancun on Tuesday over two tracks of negotiations whose outcome would set a post-2012 strategy for rolling back greenhouse gases and aiding poor countries exposed to climate change.

The tracks are essentially interlinked, which explains why delegates fretted over a repeat of the logjam that drove last December's climate summit in Copenhagen to the brink of disaster.

One track gathers all 194 parties under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the United States, while the other includes the 193 parties to the Kyoto Protocol -- everyone but the United States.

"It might not seem very constructive, but I would say that is crucial that we would have a confirmation that there will be a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol here in Cancun," lead Chinese negotiator Su Wei told AFP.

"There are two pillars in this system. One is the convention itself, the other is the Kyoto Protocol," Su continued. "If one pillar is got rid of, you can imagine how the general architecture would look like and there will be certainly a collapse."

Developing countries have said they will commit to a deal in the first track provided there is a deal in the second track for renewing commitments under the Protocol after the first roster of pledges expires at the end of 2012.

But Japan bluntly gave notice this week it would refuse to sign up to a second commitment period.

There was "no sense" in renewing its pledges if the Protocol's cuts, applying just to rich economies, covered less than 30 percent of the world's emissions, it said.

Top carbon emitter China does not face these constraints as it is a developing country, while the United States, which is number two, abandoned Kyoto in 2001.

The European Union (EU) is Kyoto's biggest champion, but even so there are differences of opinion toward the treaty within the 27-nation bloc, a European diplomat said. Canada and Russia, meanwhile, are lukewarm or hostile to a second period if it does not include the world's biggest carbon polluters.

Scientists say unbridled burning of fossil fuels has brought concentrations of carbon dioxide, a colorless, odorless and tasteless greenhouse gas, to record concentrations.

Without urgent action to stem these emissions, the world is on track for worsening drought, floods, storms and rising seas, spelling a threat for hundreds of millions of people, they warn.

By 2030, climate change will indirectly cause nearly one million deaths a year and inflict 157 billion dollars in damage, according to estimates presented at UN talks.

earlier related report
Climate: Kyoto row rocks UN talks
Cancun, Mexico (AFP) Dec 3, 2010 - UN climate talks in Cancun ran into a storm Friday as a deepening split emerged over the future of the carbon-cutting Kyoto Protocol.

The fate of the world's only treaty to spell out curbs in greenhouse gases buffeted the effort to revive the UN's campaign against global warming and its impacts.

"If countries park on extreme positions, then it's just not possible to come to a UN consensus," said EU chief negotiator Artur Runge-Metzger.

"That is certainly something that is like a sword of Damocles hanging over this conference."

US Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern said he saw "very sharp differences of opinion" over the Kyoto Protocol.

"It may be that the problems of Kyoto... tie this conference up, but I am very hopeful that it doesn't happen because I think it would be a huge mistake," he told journalists.

Stern was among the first senior envoys to arrive in Cancun ahead of a four-day minister-level haggle starting Tuesday under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The talks entail two tracks of negotiations whose outcome would set down a post-2012 strategy for rolling back greenhouse gases and aiding poor countries exposed to climate change.

The two tracks are essentially interlinked, which explains why delegates fretted over a repeat of the logjam that drove last December's climate summit in Copenhagen to the brink of disaster.

One track gathers all 194 parties under the UNFCC, including the United States, while the other gathers the 193 parties to the Kyoto Protocol -- everyone but the United States.

Developing countries have said they will commit to a deal in the first track provided there is a deal in the second track for renewing commitments under the Protocol after the first roster of pledges expires at the end of 2012.

But on Monday, Japan bluntly gave notice it would refuse to sign up to a second commitment period.

There was "no sense" in renewing its pledges if the Protocol's cuts, applying just to rich economies, covered less than 30 percent of the world's emissions, it said.

Top carbon emitter China does not face these constraints as it is a developing country, while the United States, which is number 2, abandoned Kyoto in 2001.

On Friday, a group of left-wing Latin American countries warned an overall deal in Cancun would be "very difficult" without a Kyoto second commitment period.

The so-called ALBA group -- Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and the Caribbean island nation of Dominica -- led hardline opposition at last year's summit to the Copenhagen Accord, a last-minute compromise cobbled together by a couple dozen leaders.

The European Union (EU) is Kyoto's biggest champion, but even so there are differences of opinion toward the treaty within the 27-nation bloc, a European diplomat said. Canada and Russia, meanwhile, are lukewarm or hostile to a second period if it does not include the world's biggest carbon polluters.

Scientists say unbridled burning of fossil fuels has brought concentrations of carbon dioxide, a colorless, odorless and tasteless greenhouse gas, to record concentrations.

Without urgent action to stem these emissions, the world is on track for worsening drought, floods, storms and rising seas, spelling a threat for hundreds of millions of people, they warn.

By 2030, climate change will indirectly cause nearly one million deaths a year and inflict 157 billion dollars in damage, according to estimates presented at UN talks.

A report found the biggest misery will be heaped on more than 50 of the world's poorest countries, but the United States will pay the highest economic bill.

"In less than 20 years, almost all countries in the world will realise high vulnerability to climate impact as the planet heats up," according to the study, compiled by a humanitarian research organisation and climate-vulnerable countries.




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CLIMATE SCIENCE
Climate: a million deaths a year by 2030 - study
Cancun, Mexico (AFP) Dec 3, 2010
By 2030, climate change will indirectly cause nearly one million deaths a year and inflict 157 billion dollars in damage, according to estimates presented at UN talks on Friday. The biggest misery will be heaped on more than 50 of the world's poorest countries, but the United States will pay the highest economic bill, it said. "In less than 20 years, almost all countries in the world wil ... read more

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