More na­tions may pledge car­bon lim­its at United Nation talks

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

CAN­CUN: More coun­tries are ex­pected this week to pledge spe­cific ac­tions to limit car­bon emis­sions over the next decade, in what would be "very good news" for ar­du­ous ne­go­ti­a­tions on a cli­mate change agree­ment, says host coun­try Mex­ico.

On Mon­day, newly ar­rived govern­ment min­is­ters be­gin ap­ply­ing po­lit­i­cal weight to talks be­ing held in Can­cun, as the 193-nation U.N. cli­mate con­fer­ence moves into its de­ci­sive fi­nal week.

The meet­ing hopes to re­store cred­i­bil­ity to the talks af­ter the last sum­mit in Copen­hagen a year ago, which failed to agree on any bind­ing mea­sures to rein in emis­sions of global-warm­ing gases. A non­bind­ing po­lit­i­cal doc­u­ment, the Copen­hagen Ac­cord, out­lined im­por­tant com­pro­mises among key play­ers, in­clud­ing the United States and China, but its adop­tion was blocked by a hand­ful of dis­si­dent na­tions.

In sub­se­quent months, how­ever, 140 coun­tries de­clared their en­dorse­ment of the ac­cord, and 85 of them made spe­cific pledges for re­duc­ing car­bon emis­sions, or at least limited their growth, by 2020.

Mex­ico's deputy for­eign min­is­ter, Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo, said more coun­tries had said in pri­vate con­sul­ta­tions that they in­tended to add their pledges to the list of 85. Some coun­tries that al­ready have sub­mit­ted pledges may take "ad­di­tional mea­sures," he said. He de­clined to name any coun­try, but said they in­cluded both in­dus­trial and de­vel­op­ing na­tions.

"There has been a clear mes­sage from some par­ties, and that would cer­tainly be very good news," he told re­porters on Sun­day.

The Can­cun talks seek to pro­duce de­ci­sions on es­tab­lish­ing a "green fund" to help poorer na­tions rein in green­house gases and to adapt their economies and in­fra­struc­ture to a chang­ing cli­mate; an agree­ment mak­ing it eas­ier for de­vel­op­ing na­tions to ob­tain patented green technology from ad­vanced na­tions; and pin­ning down more el­e­ments of a sys­tem for com­pen­sat­ing de­vel­op­ing coun­tries for pro­tect­ing their forests.

What will not be re­solved at Can­cun is the core dis­pute in the cli­mate talks: fix­ing legally bind­ing tar­gets for na­tions to re­duce green­house gases emit­ted by in­dus­try, ve­hi­cles and agri­cul­ture.

The pledges in the Copen­hagen Ac­cord are purely vol­un­tary, and are in­suf­fi­cient to meet the goal sci­en­tists have set to limit the av­er­age global tem­per­a­ture to 2 de­grees Cel­sius ( 3.8 Fahren­heit) above what it was be­fore the in­dus­trial age be­gan.

Gomez Robledo said the side is­sues of fund­ing, technology and forestry "are al­most ripe," and ne­go­tia­tors will work on dis­puted de­tails over the next five days.

The con­fer­ence pres­i­dent, Mex­i­can For­eign Sec­re­tary Pa­tri­cia Espinosa, told the del­e­ga­tions Sun­day she had as­signed teams of two min­is­ters, one each from a wealthy and de­vel­op­ing coun­try, to fo­cus on spe­cific is­sues and give po­lit­i­cal guid­ance to the ne­go­tia­tors.

The most trou­ble­some is­sue - and one that could still un­der­mine even the limited am­bi­tion en­vi­sioned for Can­cun - was whether in­dus­trial coun­tries would agree to fur­ther emis­sions cuts as spelled out in the 1997 Ky­oto Pro­to­col.

Un­der Ky­oto, 37 na­tions and the Euro­pean Union agreed to cut green­house gases by a to­tal 5.2 per­cent by 2012. Those coun­tries are on tar­get to meet their obli­ga­tions, but some of them have balked about ac­cept­ing more manda­tory cuts af­ter 2012.

Ja­pan caused an up­roar last week when it flatly said it will refuse to go along, as long as all ma­jor emit­ting coun­tries have sim­i­lar obli­ga­tions. The United States was as­signed a re­duc­tion tar­get, but it re­jected the treaty. De­vel­op­ing coun­tries, in­clud­ing China In­dia were ex­cluded from Ky­oto's stric­tures. -AP

MOSCOW: En­gi­neer Boris Zyryanov works on a GLONASS-M space nav­i­ga­tion satel­lite, one of three which crashed near Hawaii on De­cem­ber 5, 2010 af­ter blast­ing off from Rus­sia's Baikonur space cen­tre in Kaza­khstan. -Reuters

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