Cli­mate talks end with mod­est steps, no Ky­oto deal

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

CAN­CUN: The world's gov­ern­ments agreed on Satur­day to mod­est steps to com­bat cli­mate change and to give more money to poor coun­tries, but they put off un­til next year tough de­ci­sions on cut­ting green­house gas emis­sions.

The deal in­cludes a Green Cli­mate Fund that would give $100 bil­lion a year in aid to poor na­tions by 2020, mea­sures to pro­tect trop­i­cal forests and ways to share clean en­ergy tech­nolo­gies.

End­ing a marathon ses­sion of talks in the Mex­i­can beach re­sort of Can­cun, al­most 200 coun­tries also set a tar­get of lim­it­ing a rise in av­er­age world tem­per­a­tures to be­low 2 de­grees Cel­sius (3.6 F) over pre-in­dus­trial times.

But there was no ma­jor progress on how to ex­tend the Ky­oto Pro­to­col, which obliges al­most 40 rich na­tions to cut green­house gas emis­sions.

The fail­ure to re­solve the cen­tral prob­lem of emis­sions dis­mayed en­vi­ron­men­tal groups. It was also un­clear how the $100 bil­lion a year for the Green Cli­mate Fund will be raised.

The first round of Ky­oto ex­pires in 2012, it does not in­clude China and the United States-the world's two biggest emit­ters-and there is no con­sen­sus over whether de­vel­op­ing coun­tries should have bind­ing tar­gets to cut emis­sions or whether rich coun­tries have more to do first.

The main suc­cess in Can­cun af­ter two weeks of talks was sim­ply pre­vent­ing the col­lapse of cli­mate change ne­go­ti­a­tions, pro­mot­ing sup­port for a shift to low car­bon economies and re­build­ing trust be­tween rich and poor coun­tries on the chal­lenges of global warm­ing.

Ma­jor play­ers were re­lieved there was no re­peat of the ac­ri­mo­nious fail­ure seen at the Copen­hagen sum­mit last year, but they warned there was still a long way to go. The Can­cun ac­cord builds on a non-bind­ing deal by 140 na­tions in Copen­hagen.

"The most im­por­tant thing is that the mul­ti­lat­eral process has re­ceived a shot in the arm, it had reached an his­toric low. It will fight an­other day," In­dian En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Jairam Ramesh told Reuters. "It could yet fail."

"We have a long, chal­leng­ing jour­ney ahead of us. Whether it's doable in a short pe­riod of time, to get a legally bind­ing deal, I don't know," the Euro­pean Union's cli­mate com­mis­sioner Con­nie Hede­gaard said of a deal be­yond 2012.

U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, whose do­mes­tic plans to leg­is­late cuts in green­house emis­sions have stalled, said the Can­cun meet­ing was a suc­cess and ad­vances the world's re­sponse to cli­mate change.

Car­bon off­set mar­kets worth $20 bil­lion de­pend on Ky­oto emis­sions caps to drive de­vel­oped coun­tries to pay for cuts in green­house gases in de­vel­op­ing na­tions as a cheaper al­ter­na­tive to cut­ting their own green­house gases.

The Can­cun agree­ment would "build upon" such mar­kets, giv­ing them some sup­port de­spite the doubt over Ky­oto it­self.

Abyd Kar­mali, global head of car­bon mar­kets for the Bank of Amer­ica Mer­rill Lynch said the deal lays the foun­da­tion for progress.

But ex­perts said that cur­rent pledges for curbs in green­house gas emis­sions were too weak for the 2 Cel­sius goal.

Ex­ist­ing govern­ment poli­cies will lead to a rise in world tem­per­a­tures of about 3.6 de­grees Cel­sius above prein­dus­trial times, ac­cord­ing to Nik­las Hoehne, di­rec­tor of en­ergy and cli­mate pol­icy at con­sul­tancy Eco­fys. -Ap

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