BBC News | 23 July 2010 | 12:15 GMT
The US Senate will not pass a full climate bill in its current session, majority leader Harry Reid has said. Mr Reid acknowledged on Thursday that Democrats pushing for a bill could not muster the required number of votes. Instead, he plans to introduce more limited legislation that would boost energy efficiency in vehicles and crack down on offshore oil exploration. The news is a major blow to prospects of achieving a new global deal on climate change through the UN talks. Some advocates of climate legislation in the US have criticised President Barack Obama for failing to take a strong lead on the issue, despite campaign promises.
In June 2009, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would cap emissions from most sectors of the economy and establish a nationwide carbon market. A similar bill was introduced into the Senate last September, but did not receive enough backing; and weaker versions have suffered a similar fate. On Thursday, Mr Reid acknowledged legislation was not going anywhere. "We know where we are – we know that we don’t have the votes," he said. The Democrats hold 59 of the 100 Senate seats. But some Democrats fearful of the economic impacts of cap-and-trade legislation have joined the minority Republicans in opposition to the bill.
US legislation is key to tying up a new global agreement on climate change – the agreement that governments promised in 2007 they would deliver at last year’s Copenhagen summit, but did not. "It is very important to have the US in any agreement, as it constitutes 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions," said John Lanchbery, principal climate change adviser at the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and a seasoned observer of UN negotiations. "And it’s in the position where it has to have some domestic legislation before it will put anything
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