Info Service on Climate Change (Nov09/09)
Dear friends and colleagues,
Below is an article by Martin Khor, Executive Director of South Centre, that appeared in a leading Malaysian national newspaper today.
announcements on climate targets by the
week saw a flurry of activities by some world leaders to give impetus
Barack Obama of the
announcements by the two most important countries in terms of total
emissions gave a boost to the mood in climate politics just a week before
delegates arrive for the
reality, the chances of success of
the Apec Summit in
To many analysts, this constitutes a climb-down from the “seal the deal” goal that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has campaigned for. No one is sure what a “political declaration” would look like and how this can be “binding” or have legal effect.
UN General Assembly convened a meeting on Nov 19 to discuss the status
of the climate talks. At that meeting, the developing countries strongly
attacked the lack of commitment by the developed countries either to
cut their emissions or to provide financing to developing countries,
or even to retain the legally-binding Kyoto Protocol. This, they said,
is what has caused the downgrading of expectations for
tried to reassure the General Assembly that
the Chair of the G77 and
the G77 and
the developed countries are moving to exit from this protocol, and this
is the main cause of the present impasse. Without a Kyoto Protocol decision,
the end of the two-hour session, Ban acknowledged the deep concerns
of the developing countries about there being a major setback or deep
disappointment as there would be no treaty agreed upon in
as the meeting ended, the mood among many delegates, at least those
from developing countries, was that there would be a setback in
Several delegates said they had the impression after listening to the speakers that the conference would not result in a final legally binding outcome, and they were uncertain whether there would be a clear decision on the emission reduction commitments of developed countries, which is the foundation of many other decisions.
“There is a danger of a downgrading of the commitments of developed countries from an internationally legally binding commitment in the Kyoto Protocol to an inferior agreement involving each country pledging its national programme, with no aggregate figure for developed countries overall, and which is not legally binding,” said the Sudanese ambassador.
The group was also very disappointed with the very low overall reduction figure arising from the national announcements from developed countries so far, which is only 11% to 18% (including the US).
main impasse that has led to downgrading of expectations in
asked if the Secretary-General and the Denmark representative could
assure the group that the developed country members of the Kyoto Protocol
will remain and will make adequate commitments of at least 40% cut by
2020 (from 1990 levels), and will finish the negotiations in the Kyoto
Protocol track by the time Copenhagen is concluded. Without such an
assurance, it will be hard to see how
The Copenhagen Conference must not end only with mere rhetorical political statements. There must be concrete commitments from the developed countries on their emission reduction figures, and commitments on finance, as well as decisions to establish a finance mechanism and a technology mechanism.
Ban said he believed that Parties would reach a deal in
said that political momentum was building almost daily. He urged parties
to stay positive, come to
last week’s announcements by the