Friday, December 11, 2009
Kyoto Protocol will survive: UN climate chief
by Carmelo Amalfi
THE Kyoto Protocol will and must survive, United Nations climate official Yvo de Boer told reporters at COP15.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary said there was no good reason to abandon the protocol established in 1997.
“One reason is because it generally takes a little time for a new legal instrument to be ratified and to enter into force,” he said. “The Kyoto Protocol took eight years to enter into force.
“If there is an agreement on a new legal instrument under the convention, which I also expect, you can’t guarantee how quickly it will enter into force.”
The Kyoto Protocol, which aims to slow global greenhouse emission, ends in 2012.
The US, which is the world’s top polluter closely followed by China, has not signed up to the treaty.
US envoy to the talks in Copenhagen, Todd Stern, said on Wednesday that the US would not join, particularly if China was unwilling to sign up.
“The country whose emissions are going up dramatically is China and that’s the reason why we can’t have an agreement that doesn’t have a real commitment by China,” he said.
“You can’t even think about solving this problem without having a significant commitment by China.”
Mr Stern said American greenhouse gas emissions were “flattening out and they’re going to go down”.
He said China had an extraordinarily successful economy in a different stage of development to the US.
“Emissions are emissions, you just have to do the math,” he said. “This isn’t a matter of politics and morality or anything else.
“It’s just math. And you can’t get to the kind of reduction that we need globally if China is not a major player. That’s the reality.”
Chinese climate officials want the US to boost its commitment to cutting gas emissions, describing as unfair moves to set limits on nations that were still developing while emissions from developed countries were rising.
“Currently, the target is to reduce emissions by 17 percent from the 2005 level,” they said. “This figure cannot be regarded as remarkable or notable.”
China’s top climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said: “I do hope President Obama can bring a concrete contribution to Copenhagen.”
Mr Xie said China could accept a target of halving global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 if developed nations stepped up their emissions cutting targets by 2020.
Developing nations are asking for at least $US300 billion in financial support to help them deal with the impacts of climate change.