Climate talks in danger from Kyoto hangover
The UN climate talks in Cancun were teetering on the brink of failure late last night after a group of Central and South American countries said there would be no deal without a renewal of the current climate treaty, the Kyoto protocol.
Earlier this week, Japan told the conference that it would not agree to a so-called "second commitment period" of Kyoto, which legally binds the rich developed nations to make cuts in their emissions of greenhouse gases – but does not place similar impositions on developing countries. Kyoto runs out at the end of 2012.
The Japanese do not want to be legally bound to cut back on their emissions while their major economic competitors – such as China, India, Indonesia and the US (which withdrew from Kyoto in 2001) – are not.
These nations have been joined unofficially at the conference by three other industrialised countries refusing to renew the treaty; they have not yet spoken out publicly but are believed to be Russia, Canada and Australia.
However, Kyoto has enormous totemic significance for the developing nations as a symbol of rich countries' good faith in the climate negotiations. In response to the emerging anti-Kyoto group, delegates from Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Dominica, collectively known as the Alba group, called a news conference last night to insist that without Kyoto, there would be no deal. They claimed they were backed by all African and Arabic-speaking countries.
The Alba countries are regarded as a radical socialist grouping, and the delegate from Venezuela, Claudia Salerno, said they had just come from a meeting where representatives of an unnamed industrialised country had threatened to go to the beach because they were wasting their time talking about Kyoto, signed in the Japanese city in 1997. Ms Salerno said: "When you find that on the other side of the table, they say they want to go to the beach because they say there's nothing to do and they're just wasting their time, then we in the Alba group will not allow these countries to get away with this and make no commitment."
She said it would be difficult to reach a deal without a renewed Kyoto.
The delegate from Bolivia, Pablo Solon, said the idea of replacing Kyoto with another climate treaty – which is the ultimate aim of the industrialised nations – was like "asking me to take a second wife so I can continue to live with my first wife".
The rich countries, led by the European Union and the US, would like to replace Kyoto with a new treaty that brings all countries into the same legally binding pact to cut carbon – not least because some of the developing countries, such as China and India, are now among the world's biggest CO2 emitters, with China the biggest of all.
Can our trees be saved from big timber, rampant disease and global warming?
Like a lamb to the slaughter: Environmentalist attacks 'ecological disaster' of sheep-rearing at hill farmers' meeting – and is met with stony silence
Sterilise farmed salmon to save wild species, critics say
Python eats croc: when two (or more) species go to war - the 12 most amazing animal battles ever recorded
The 10 best folding bikes
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 3 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 4 Russia has made 'big miscalculation' over Ukraine warns Hague
- 5 Swarm of killer bees sting woman 1,000 times
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...