13 December 2007

US-led bloc trying to scuttle Kyoto Protocol: G-77

Indonesia News.Net
Wednesday 12th December, 2007 (IANS)

Some industrialised countries led by the US are trying to scuttle the entire Kyoto Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Group of 77 countries said Wednesday as the Dec 3-14 Bali summit to address climate change appeared to lose all momentum.

As the high-level segment of the summit started in the morning with over 130 ministers and the UN secretary general in attendance, the US and some other industrialised countries suggested the launch of negotiations for a 'comprehensive treaty' to address climate change.

The G-77 saw that as an attempt to erode and possibly scuttle the Kyoto Protocol and the UNFCCC, Pakistan's permanent representative to the UN Munir Akram said here.

Expressing the 'deep unease of the group at these attempts', he said: 'We would like to reiterate that the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol remain the central multilateral framework for cooperative actions to address climate change.'

The developing countries that make up the G-77 are afraid that a new dispensation to fight climate change would never get off the ground because the industrialised countries would insist that major developing countries such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa take on legally binding commitments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) that are leading to global warming.

Akram said this would be a 'less equitable instrument'. Pakistan is currently the co-chair of the G-77.

India's Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Kapil Sibal told IANS any such idea to ask developing countries to take on legally binding GHG emissions was a non-starter.

Earlier, at the plenary session of the summit's high-level segment, speaking on behalf of G-77 and China, Akram had expressed the group's 'extreme disappointment' that there had been no decision at the UN climate change conference that would allow the implementation of green technologies identified by developing countries.

Technology transfer to mitigate emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) that warm the earth's atmosphere has been one of the most contentious issues at the Bali summit.

Industrialised countries have blocked discussions on the plea that it was up to private companies to transfer technologies, though it is supposed to be one of the four building blocks of the global move to address climate change, according to UNFCCC executive secretary Yvo de Boer.

Akram told the delegates at the plenary: 'The development and transfer of technology to developing countries through an effective mechanism supported by adequate and predictable financial resource base is vital to enabling developing countries to face the challenges posed by climate change.

'We would like to express our disappointment over the manner in which we had to struggle for long hours to restore this important item on the SBI (subsidiary body on implementation of the UNFCCC) agenda. It is our hope that this subject will be given the priority it deserves.

'We are also extremely disappointed not to have reached agreement on having a decision at this COP (conference of parties to the framework convention) that will allow the implementation of the technologies identified by developing countries. Ironically, developed country parties do state that technology development and transfer is one of the building blocks for the design of future climate change regime.'

He later told the media: 'The agreement over technology transfer broke down over one word. In one place, the G-77 wanted the word facility, while the developed countries wanted the word programme.'

On Wednesday evening, the president of the summit - the environment minister of Indonesia - had got the major delegation heads together in an effort to revive agreement. Akram said: 'The G-77 is committed to doing that.'

At the plenary session, there was more criticism of the Bali summit from Akram.

'Capacity building under the convention and the protocol remains an area of high priority for the G-77. Unfortunately, this too has not received the attention it deserves. We also express our disappointment over the difficulties and hurdles that we continue to face from developed country parties on this issue. The most recent deadlock at this session is a clear manifestation of that lack of understanding and flexibility on the part of our partners.'

He later said: 'The agreement over capacity building broke down at 2.30 this morning in a very acrimonious way.'

In his speech at the plenary, Akram expressed concern that the move towards finalising a Bali roadmap had not progressed 'as much as we would have liked'.

But, he added: 'We will work with others to bring our deliberations to a successful conclusion. To do so, flexibility will be required from all sides. We must use this possibility to convert the climate challenge into a climate opportunity.'

Earlier in his speech, Akram had said: 'The G-77 and China consider that the provision of financial resources to the developing countries by the developed countries is a commitment under the convention. Financing is one of the key components and one of the main building blocks also for enhancing the implementation of the convention.

'There is a huge gap between the funding currently available through the financial mechanisms of the convention and the funding needs of the developing countries.

'While market based solutions are important, nonetheless, given the scale and magnitude of the resources required, the close engagement of governments and public sector funding and intervention will remain critical.'

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