Reuters blog | December 23rd, 2009 | 03:26
Sweden complained that the recent Copenhagen climate change summit was a “disaster.” British Prime Minister Gordon Brown described it as “at best flawed and at worst chaotic.” Sudan’s U.N. ambassador, Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem, dubbed the outcome confirmation of “climate apartheid.” For South Africa it was simply “not acceptable.” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who for over a year had been urging the 192 members of the United Nations to “seal the deal” in Copenhagen, saw things differently. In a statement issued by his press office, Ban said the two-week meeting had a “successful conclusion with substantive outcomes.” Speaking to reporters, the secretary-general expanded on that: “Finally we sealed the deal. And it is a real deal. Bringing world leaders to the table paid off.” However, he tempered his praise for the participating delegations by noting that the outcome “may not be everything that everyone hoped for.”
In fact, the outcome fell far short of what Ban had been calling for over the last year. He had originally hoped the meeting would produce a legally binding agreement with ambitious targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and funding to help developing nations cope with global warming. Instead, it “noted” an accord struck by the United States, China and other emerging powers that were widely criticized as Continue reading
Reuters | NEW DELHI | Wed Dec 23, 2009 | 5:24pm IST
The grouping of China, India, Brazil and South Africa has emerged as a significant force in Copenhagen and they could lead the way in future negotiations, the head of the U.N. climate panel said on Wednesday. A climate change meeting ended last week in Copenhagen with a non-legally binding political agreement at the last moment between the United States and the big developing countries — China, India, Brazil and South Africa that forms the BASIC group. The next climate change meet is in Mexico next year, where countries hope to reach a legally binding agreement.
“What has happened politically which is very significant is the emergence of this grouping of Brazil, South Africa, India and China,” Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in New Delhi. “Undoubtedly whatever agreement comes into existence by the time Mexico completes its conference of the parties, will necessarily have to deal with the power of this group (BASIC).” In November, the BASIC countries forged a united front in Beijing to put pressure on developed countries in Copenhagen. India said the BASIC countries were successful in thwarting global pressure to agree to a legally-binding emissions cut. Continue reading
BBC News | 2009/12/22 | 08:28:13 GMT
China has dismissed claims made by a British minister that it “hijacked” efforts to reach an agreement at the climate summit in Copenhagen. Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband had accused China of vetoing two agreements on limiting emissions. Beijing’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the accusations were a political plot made by leaders who wanted to shirk their own obligations. The summit ended without the 192 nations reaching a binding agreement. The delegates simply committed to “taking note” of a deal recognising the need to limit temperature rises to 2C. Jiang Yu did not mention Mr. Miliband by name, but in comments reported by the Xinhua state news agency, she said statements from “certain British politicians” were “plainly a political scheme.” The aim, she said, was “to shirk responsibilities that should be assumed towards developing countries, and to provoke discord among developing countries. This scheme will come to nothing,”
Writing in Britain’s Guardian newspaper on Sunday, Mr. Miliband said the vast majority of countries wanted a legally-binding treaty to protect the planet, but it seemed that four or five countries at the summit had been keen to “shelve the accord.” He said China had vetoed two proposed agreements on emissions cuts, “despite the support of a coalition of developed and the vast majority of developing countries.” Ms Jiang said Mr. Miliband and others behind the editorial should “correct their mistakes, fulfill their obligations to developing countries in an earnest way and stay away from activities that hinder the international community’s co-operation in coping with climate change.” Continue reading
BBC NEWS | 2009/12/21 | 14:25:07 GMT
Gordon Brown will accuse a small group of countries of holding the Copenhagen climate summit talks to ransom. The 193-nation UN conference ended with delegates simply “taking note” of a US-led climate deal that recognised the need to limit temperature rises to 2C. Mr. Brown said on Monday the talks were “at best flawed and at worst chaotic” and called for a reformed UN process. And he is expected to say in a podcast that a global deal should not be “held to ransom by a handful of countries.” Energy Secretary Ed Miliband has singled out China for vetoing an agreement on emissions but in an article in The Guardian, both he and Mr. Brown say a diluted deal was better than nothing at all.
BBC political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg says politicians were “pointing the finger” after the disappointment of the outcome of the summit. The prime minister will say in his podcast: “Never again should we face the deadlock that threatened to pull down these talks. Never again should we let a global deal to move towards a greener future be held to ransom by only a handful of countries.” He said lessons must be learned from the “tough negotiations” that took place in Copenhagen. Continue reading
Reuters | COPENHAGEN | Sat Dec 19, 2009 | 6:04am IST
A climate deal among world leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama puts off many tough decisions until 2010 and sets the planet on track to overshoot goals for limiting global warming. Obama spoke of “the beginning of a new era of international action” but many other leaders said it was “imperfect”, “not sufficient” and at best a “modest success” if it gets formally adopted by all 193 nations in Copenhagen on Saturday. Problems faced by China and the United States — the world’s top emitters — stood in the way of a stronger deal for the world’s first pact to combat climate change since the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol in 1997.
In big advances, the deal adds a promise of $100 billion a year to help developing nations from 2020 and promotes the use of forests to soak up carbon dioxide. But it is unclear where the cash will come from. European leaders fell in reluctantly after Obama announced the deal with China, India, South Africa and Brazil. It was drafted by 28 nations ranging from OPEC oil producers to small island states. A drawback is that the deal is not legally binding — a key demand of many developing nations. The text instead suggests an end-2010 deadline for transforming it into a legal text that had long been expected in Copenhagen. Continue reading
Reuters | COPENHAGEN | Sat Dec 19, 2009 | 6:43am IST
U.S. President Barack Obama reached a climate agreement on Friday with India, South Africa, China and Brazil. The deal outlined fell far short of the ambitions for the Copenhagen summit. Here are key points from the agreement, which is titled “Copenhagen Accord.”
* LONG-TERM GOALS
“Deep cuts in global emissions are required according to science…with a view to reduce global emissions so as to hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius.”
* LEGALLY BINDING DEAL
A proposal attached to the accord calls for a legally binding treaty to be pinned down by the end of next year.
* FINANCING FOR POOR NATIONS
The text says: “Developed countries shall provide adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, technology and capacity-building to support the implementation of adaptation action in developing countries.” It mentions as particularly vulnerable and in need of help are the Continue reading
Reuters | COPENHAGEN | Sat Dec 19, 2009 | 1:38pm IST
U.N. climate talks fell into crisis on Saturday after some developing nations angrily rejected a plan worked out by U.S. President Barack Obama, China and other fast growing economies for fighting global warming. Copenhagen, meant to be the finale of two years of negotiations, risked ending with no firm UN accords despite a summit of 120 world leaders on Friday who tried to work out the first climate blueprint since the U.N.’s 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Countries including Venezuela, Sudan and Tuvalu said they opposed a deal spearheaded on Friday in Copenhagen by the United States, China, India, South Africa and Brazil at the summit.
A final, all-night plenary session, chaired by Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and involving national negotiators, was punctuated by increasingly irritable exchanges. The deal would need unanimous backing to be adopted, and Britain said failure to adopt it would hold up funds pledged to poorer countries to fight the impact of climate change. Opponents said the document, which sets a target of limiting global warming to a maximum 2 degree Celsius rise over pre-industrial times and holds out the prospect of $100 billion in annual aid from 2020 for developing nations, was too weak. Continue reading
BBC NEWS | 2009/12/19 | 08:23:36 GMT
US-LED COPENHAGEN DEAL
- No reference to legally binding agreement
- Recognises the need to limit global temperatures rising no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels
- Developed countries to “set a goal of mobilising jointly $100bn a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries”
- On transparency: Emerging nations monitor own efforts and report to UN every two years. Some international checks
- No detailed framework on carbon markets – “various approaches” will be pursued
(Updated: 06:40 GMT, 19 December)
Delegates at the climate summit are battling to prevent the talks ending without reaching a final deal. Earlier, a US-led group of five nations – including China – tabled a last-minute proposal that President Barack Obama called a “meaningful agreement.” However, it was rejected by a few developing nations who felt it failed to deliver the actions needed to halt dangerous climate change. But the majority of nations are urging the Danish hosts to adopt the deal. To be accepted as an official UN agreement, the deal needs to be endorsed by all 193 nations at the talks.
‘Devoid of morality’
On Friday evening, the US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa reached a last-minute agreement on a number of issues, such as a recognition to limit temperature rises to less than 2C (3.6F). However, BBC environment correspondent Richard Black says the language in the text shows Continue reading
BBC NEWS | 2009/12/19 | 04:04:14 GMT
Key states have reached what they call a “meaningful agreement” at the Copenhagen climate summit. Five nations, including China and the US, reached a deal on a number of issues, such as a recognition to limit temperatures rises to less than 2C. US President Barack Obama said it would be a foundation for global action but there was “much further to go.” However, the deal could be rejected as a number of nations expressed “dissatisfaction” with the contents. “Can I suggest that in biblical terms, it looks like we’re being offered 30 pieces of silver to sell our future,” Tuvalu’s lead negotiator Ian Fry said during the main meeting. “Our future is not for sale.” Mr. Fry said his country could not accept the deal, as did Venezuelan delegate Claudia Salerno Caldera. “Mr. President, I ask whether – under the eye of the UN secretary general – you are going to endorse this coup d’etat against the authority of the United Nations.”
Nicaragua submitted new documents to the meeting calling for the resumption of negotiations on new legal agreements, including emission reductions from developed nations. To be accepted as a official UN agreement, the deal needs to be endorsed by all 193 nations at the talks. The five-nation deal promised to deliver $30bn (£18.5bn) of aid for developing nations over the next three years, and outlined a goal of Continue reading
Reuters | Sat Dec 19, 2009 | 5:02am IST
U.S. President Barack Obama forged a climate deal with emerging economic powers on Friday, breaking a deadlock at U.N.-led talks, but said the world still had “much further to go” in the fight against global warming. All sides conceded the agreement, which fell far short of United Nations ambitions for the Dec. 7-18 talks, was imperfect but said it was a starting point for a coordinated international effort to avert the catastrophic impacts of climate change. “This progress did not come easily and we know this progress alone is not enough … We’ve come a long way but we have much further to go,” Obama said after talks with China’s Premier Wen Jiabao, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma which led to the breakthrough. The agreement still had to win formal approval from a full meeting of all 193 nations at the talks. “If this makes it through the meeting in a couple of hours’ time then I see it as a modest success,” said Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat. “We could have achieved more.”
Negotiators had struggled all day to find a compromise acceptable to all which could avert the threat of dangerous climate change, including floods, droughts, rising sea levels and species extinctions. Tensions between China and the United States, the world’s two biggest emitters, had been particularly acute after Obama — in a message directed at the Chinese — said any deal to cut emissions would be “empty words on a page” Continue reading
Reuters | Fri Dec 18, 2009 | 9:10pm IST
World leaders tried to rescue a global climate agreement on Friday but the failure of leading greenhouse gas emitters China and the United States to come up with new proposals blocked chances of an ambitious deal. U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders are trying to reach consensus on carbon emissions cuts, financial aid to poor nations, temperature caps and international scrutiny of emissions curbs. There has been progress in some areas, but gaps remain over emissions targets and monitoring, delegates said. “We are ready to get this done today but there has to be movement on all sides, to recognise that it is better for us to act than talk,” Obama told the conference. “These international discussions have essentially taken place now for almost two decades and we have very little to show for it other than an increase, an acceleration of the climate change phenomenon. The time for talk is over.”
At stake is an agreement for coordinated global action to avert climate change including more floods and droughts. Two weeks of talks in Copenhagen have battled suspicion between rich and poor countries over how to share out emissions cuts. Developing countries, among them Continue reading
Reuters | Fri Dec 18, 2009 | 4:19pm IST
Following are excerpts of a draft text under consideration by world leaders on Friday as part of a new deal to fight climate change:
“Recognising the scientific view that the increase in global temperatures ought not to exceed 2 degrees, and on the basis of equity and in the context of sustainable development, parties commit to a vigorous response through immediate and enhanced national action based on strengthened international cooperation.”
“Ambitious action to mitigate climate change is needed with developed countries taking the lead. Parties recognise the critical impact of climate change on countries particularly vulnerable to its adverse effect and stress the need to establish a comprehensive adaptation programme including international support. Deep cuts in global emissions are required.” Continue reading
Reuters | Thu Dec 17, 2009 | 2:09pm IST
Prospects for a strong U.N. climate change deal grew more remote on Thursday at the climax of two years of talks, with developed and developing nations deadlocked on sharing cuts in greenhouse gases. Dozens of heads of state were arriving in the Danish capital to address the Dec. 7-18 conference, which is meant to sign a new pact to curb greenhouse gas emissions on Friday. Ministers have struggled to craft a coherent text for the leaders to sign because they have so far failed to close a rift over how far the developing world should join industrialised countries in cutting carbon emissions. A Danish proposal to break the talks into smaller groups to speed up progress foundered on opposition from poor countries, backed by top greenhouse gas emitter China. “There was no progress overnight in consultations on how to consult,” said a source who declined to be identified. “We are in serious trouble. There is hope that the arrival of Lula (Brazil) and the Chinese PM might unblock this.”
China told participants it saw no possibility of achieving a detailed accord to tackle global warming, an official from another nation involved in the talks said early on Thursday. The official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters the Chinese had instead suggested issuing “a short Continue reading
Reuters | Wed Dec 16, 2009 | 6:08pm IST
The Kyoto Protocol which binds nearly 40 rich nations to limit carbon emissions is in “intensive care” and global negotiations to extend the pact have stalled, India’s environment minister said on Wednesday. More than 190 countries are meeting in Copenhagen to agree the outlines of a new global deal to combat climate change, hoping to seal a full treaty next year to succeed the Kyoto Protocol. Developing countries want rich nations to be held to their Kyoto obligations, and sign up to a second round of tougher commitments from 2013. But Jairam Ramesh said many developed countries were “vehemently opposing” the protocol and some of them wanted a single new accord obliging all nations to fight global warming. “The sense we get is that Kyoto is in intensive care if not dead,” Ramesh told reporters.
The protocol obliges nearly 40 industrialised nations to limit emissions by at least 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12. It does not impose curbs on poorer nations. Talks on a pact to succeed Kyoto have been sluggish since they started two years ago, largely because rich nations want to merge Kyoto into a single new accord obliging all nations to fight global warming. Industrialised nations want a single track largely because the United States, the world’s second biggest carbon emitter, never ratified Kyoto. They fear signing up for a binding new Continue reading
Bloomberg | December 15, 2009 | 16:11 EST
China is demanding that a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gases prohibit nations from imposing trade sanctions, further pitting the world’s No. 1 emitter against U.S. lawmakers. The draft accord from a meeting in Copenhagen to forge a climate treaty bars rich nations from adopting trade actions tied to global warming. China said such language will avert “trade wars.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sides with China. “We will always oppose any practice of establishing trade barriers under the guise of protecting the global environment,” Yu Qingtai, China’s climate change ambassador, said in an interview.
A proposed U.S. law would impose tariffs by 2020 on imports of certain goods from nations such as China seen as not doing enough to cut emissions. American politicians and labor groups say pending legislation to cut heat-trapping gases must include tariffs on such nations because they gain competitive advantage. The dispute between China and the U.S., which had record $268 billion surplus last year in China’s favor, illustrates how trade is emerging as a central issue dividing developed and developing countries at the United Nations gathering in the Danish capital. Continue reading