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What Next -- Climate Watch

On the EU 2015 climate 'roadmap'

Below an AFP account of the EU 2015 climat 'roadmap'. When reading it, do note the following:

  • Although the EU has changed rhetoric/strategy to now endorsing a second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol (contrary to the 'single treaty' line that what was pushed under the Swedish presidency ahead of Copenhagen), it is essentially a very similar strategy: EU says it will only accept a second commitment period if there are guarantees all major economies will be included with binding commitments in a new roadmap (essentially a 'single treaty'). However, this is clearly shifting the goalposts, and includes no guarantees for adequate financing and technology for enabling developing countries to meet the huge adaptation neeeds and move to low-carbon societies. EU needs to fulfill its obligations to enter a second commitment period with ambitious targets unconditional of what other countries do. Only then can it begin to legitimately discuss other arrangements for subsequent periods – which needs to be based on clear equity principles.
  • According to the AFP citation, Hedegaards says the "Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012". This is a blatant error that has been repeated innumerable times by Western journalists, politicians and even in official UNFCCC communications. The Kyoto protocol does NOT expire. Period. The first commitment period comes to and end, and should be followed by a second commitment period according to the legally binding provisions in the protocol.
  • See also the arguments around the "limited scope" ("only a third of global emissions") of the Kyoto protocol in this related post. The Kyoto protocol is part of a package of mechanisms that together cover 100% of global emissions. 
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2015 climate 'roadmap' idea well received, says EU
(AFP) – 5 November 2011

VIENNA — The European Union's top climate diplomat said on Saturday the bloc's proposal for upcoming UN talks to lay down a new "roadmap" leading to a comprehensive global deal by 2015 has been well received.

"I have had very positive signals about the EU proposal for a roadmap," Connie Hedegaard, European climate commissioner, told the Austrian daily Der Standard in an interview.

The idea "would give countries more time, namely until 2015, to comply with international climate protection obligations and to introduce the corresponding monitoring," the Dane said in comments published in German.

Negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have made little progress since the stormy Copenhagen Summit of December 2009. The next talks are set for Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9.

Hedegaard said however the new roadmap should be "binding" and aim to encompass 80-85 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, compared with only around a third covered by the Kyoto Protocol.
"We will insist (in Durban) that without binding commitments there can be no successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012," Hedegaard said.

Kyoto currently only covers some three dozen rich nations. China, the world's top carbon emitter overall -- but not per capita -- was excluded as a developing nation, and the United States, the number two polluter, opted out.

Canada, Japan and Russia have refused to continue Kyoto and say that any future accord must all major economies including China, which in turn wants binding action from wealthy nations.

On Thursday, small island nations facing rising seas slammed suggestions by Japan and Russia that a 2015 target for a global agreement was unrealistic, with Moscow saying 2018 or even later was a more plausible target date.
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