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Small nations open to junk Kyoto, India opposes

Last updated on: December 11, 2009 19:21 IST
Opening a new front at climate talks, small island nations on Friday sought to junk the 1997 Kyoto protocol by floating their draft which India vowed to resist as it sees it as an attempt to bracket developed and developing nations together on legally-binding emission cuts.

Led by Tuvalu, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) circulated a draft-- 'Copenhagen Protocol'--  that calls for amendments to the Kyoto Protocol, binding emerging developing nations with more responsibilities.

"Today we have put forward a proposal for a legally binding agreement to secure the twin objectives of survival of the Kyoto Protocol to strengthen the UNFCCC with a new 'Copenhagen Protocol' that can be adopted here in Copenhagen," said Ambassador of Grenada, Dessima Williams.

"We believe our proposal provides a fresh way of looking at how existing proposals from many different countries can be assembled into a coherent legal form while maintaining the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol and the primacy of the UNFCCC," Ambassador of Cape Verde, Antonio Lima, said.

Unhappy with the move, India said it will not accept any changes or extension to the Kyoto Protocol, which is the only legally-binding document that imposes emission reduction targets on industrialised countries, excluding the US.

India's Environment Secretary Vijay Sharma said the new proposals amounted to 'bracket' together rich countries and emerging economies and weaken legal obligations of developed nations under Kyoto protocol.

India views the small nations' move as a strategy of the European Union to weaken the Kyoto Protocol and get out of the commitments made in the document.

"We want the standing of the Kyoto Protocol to be maintained," Sharma told reporters. "We are looking to making the roots of the Kyoto Protocol stronger and go deeper into emission cuts for the developed countries."

Contending that time was 'inopportune' to look at new issues, he said "we have an existing mandate on which we are working and we must complete that. We have deadlines under the Bali Action Plan", which mandates that developed countries have to take legally-binding cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The draft proposals of Tuvalu and the AOSIS are inconsistent and in conflict with convention provisions pertinent to equity and common but differentiated responsibilities, he said.

"Many of these proposals are bracketing the Annex 1 (countries mentioned under the Protocol that should take cuts) and non-Annex 1 countries and may be allowing Annex 1 to abandon Kyoto," Sharma said.

While Tuvalu asked India and China to take emission cuts like other developed countries, the AOSIS requires the two countries to report on their national voluntary measures, Envoy of Dominica, Crispin S Gregoire, told PTI.

"Tuvalu wants very specific cuts from India and China and Brazil, which are major emitters from developing countries¬Ö we don't get into discussions but we say that everybody has to contribute specifically," he said.

The AOSIS position is more in line with the US which called on emerging economies to bring their national measures under "international wraps."

Small island nations have become very active at the Copenhagen meet as they are the most vulnerable to global warming with even existence of some of these being at stake.

At a meeting called to discuss amendments, Japan noted that the Kyoto Protocol had an 'institutional flaw' in not imposing targets on large emerging economies, while the Australian delegate noted that "we need more than Kyoto."

In contrast, China and India stated that the only amendment that should happen in the Kyoto Protocol is for Annex 1 countries to adopt commitments under their second commitment period.

The UN chief on climate change, Yvo de Boer, stressed that it was unwise to try and introduce a new protocol since it cannot be guaranteed how quickly it would enter into force. He said the protocol is the only legally-binding instrument available and there "is no good reason to abandon it."

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has also arrived here to take part in the negotiations.

As delegates from 193 countries discussed ways to combat climate change, police detained at least 40 people in the first street protests linked to the 12-day talks.

In Brussels, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Premier Gordon Brown said EU will commit over $3 billion annually to help poorer countries deal with global warming. They said their countries would provide most of that sum and were trying to get other members of the 27-nation EU to contribute more.

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