Copenhagen Climate Conference: Day 5

The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen has reached the halfwaymark, and on Friday the announcement came a working group had written adraft which may form the core of new agreement.

The six page draft could ultimately replace the Kyoto Protocol when itexpires in 2012, however presently many of the figures in the text areshown in brackets, indicating there is not yet an agreement on thosepoints. One key point states emissions should be halved worldwide by2050, compared to 1990 levels, it also suggests 80% and 95% reductionsby that year as possible alternatives.

The draft was written by Michael Zammit Cutajar, Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action.

At this point even the core of the deal remains in brackets. Throughout2009 a number of conferences, both political and scientific have beencalling for global warming to be kept below two degrees Celsius, thisdraft mentions 1.5 degrees Celsius as a possibility.

Response to the draft has been mixed with the Australian delegationclearly against it. “It would be a huge backwards step, if this isadopted. There is no mandate for a legally binding treaty that wouldtake in the US or other big developing countries like China and India”said Erwin Jackson of the Australian Climate Institute.

In other developments from Friday, the European Union, (EU) show justhow deep their pockets are by upping their financial commitment.

After two days of intense negotiations and bargaining, EU leaders inBrussels agreed on funding to help poor countries cope with climatechange.

EU leaders say they have agreed to commit 3.6 billion US dollars a yearuntil 2012 to help poorer countries combat global warming. They alsoagreed to reduce their emissions by 30% from 1990 levels, but are stilldemanding that other leading polluters make comparable commitmentsfirst.

The climate money is meant to go towards a globe 10 billion US dollarsfund for short term help to poor countries, particularly in Africa,adapt to the effects of global warming.

EU Commission President Jose Manual Barroso called the pledge “conditional”.

“We will see if there is a move on the part of the other developedcountries during the Copenhagen summit” noting in particular the UnitedStates and Canada.

Whilst the EU puts more money on the table, and group writes a draftthat may become the core of a new deal, the worlds two largestpolluters are still calling each other names.

In unusually blunt language, China’s Vice Foreign Minister He Yafeisaid on Friday he was “shocked” by the US climate envoy Todd Stern’scomments earlier in the week the China shouldn’t expect any Americanpublic climate aid money and the US was not in any debt to the worldfor its historically high carbon emissions.

“I don’t want to say the gentleman is ignorant” Yafei told reporters,“I think he lacks common sense where he made such a comment vis-a-visfunds for China. Either lack of common sense or extremelyirresponsible” he added.

The US and China have been in a verbal war all week, questioning the others sincerity of their pledges to fight climate change.


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