New UN climate text under fire as talks end

New UN climate text under fire as talks end
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First Published: Fri, Jun 11 2010. 07 17 PM IST
Updated: Fri, Jun 11 2010. 07 17 PM IST
Bonn, Germany: Rich and poor nations alike criticized a new blueprint for a UN climate treaty on Friday as two weeks of talks among 185 countries wound down with small steps towards an elusive deal.
A streamlined climate draft, meant to help talks on a new pact, excluded some of the most draconian options for greenhouse gas cuts and dropped all references to “Copenhagen” -- where a UN summit in December fell short of agreeing a treaty.
“The group is dismayed that the ... text is unbalanced,” developing nations in the Group of 77 and China said in statement, saying that the 22-page text dropped many of their proposals contained in an earlier 42-page draft.
Among rich nations, the 27-nation European Union also expressed “concerns” about the text, prepared by Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe of Zimbabwe who chairs the UN talks on action by all nations to slow global warming.
She said she wanted full formal debate on the text only at a next meeting in Bonn in early August. After the Copenhagen summit fell short, many delegates say that a new legally binding deal is out of reach for 2010 and now more likely in 2011.
The new text outlines a goal of cutting world emissions of greenhouse gases by “at least 50-85% from 1990 levels by 2050” and for developed nations to cut emissions by at least 80-95% from 1990 levels by mid-century.
The text drops far more radical options, championed by Bolivia, for a cut of at least 95% in world emissions by 2050 and for rich nations to cut emissions by “more than 100% by 2040”, meaning they would have to take steps like planting trees that more than make up for any fuel they burn.
Mother earth
“This text is not a basis for negotiations,” said Pablo Solon, head of the Bolivian delegation. Bolivia’s leftist government wants drastic measures to protect “Mother Earth” from projected heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels.
In Copenhagen, more than 120 nations agreed a non-binding deal to limit a rise in average world temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) over pre-industrial times. But it lacked details of needed greenhouse gas cuts to achieve the goal.
The 31 May – 11 June session is the biggest since the summit, and many delegates said it made some progress by focusing again on the nuts and bolts of a deal. And some saw hope in that no one liked the draft.
“Everybody will find something they like and something they hate,” said Kaisa Kosonen of Greenpeace. “We are over the Copenhagen hangover.”
Delegates say the Bonn talks have made progress on some technical issues -- such as protecting carbon-storing wetlands or ways to oversee new aid funds -- but not on core disputes between rich and poor about greenhouse gas curbs.
“Countries have been trying to build solutions here,” said Jake Schmidt of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The new draft text keeps some elements of the Copenhagen Accord, including a plan for rapidly delivering aid to developing nations of $10 billion a year from 2010-12, rising to more than $100 billion from 2020.
Separately, negotiators agreed to an investigation on Friday after protesters smashed a sign emblazoned “Saudi Arabia” and dropped it in toilet after Riyadh blocked a study of deep cuts in greenhouse gases proposed by small island states.
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First Published: Fri, Jun 11 2010. 07 17 PM IST