Copenhagen Talks Resume After 130 Nations Temporarily Walk Out – Day 8 Roundup

by | Dec 14, 2009

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UNclimateRepresentatives of some 130 nations temporarily walked out of the Copenhagen climate talks, reports the Wall Street Journal, but the talks have resumed after the three-hour delay, which centered on the future of the Kyoto Protocol, reports Bloomberg News.

The entire round of talks were “suspended” Dec. 13 after the G77 developing nations withdrew their support, reports BBC News.

The main opposition came from China and oil-rich nations in the Middle East and South America, when the G77 suspended formal talks and went so far as to refuse participation in even an informal meeting of the 50 ministers at the Copenhagen conference, reports the Sydney Morning Herald and Reuters.

Delegates remain worried that the conflict could again escalate, prompting a second walkout, according to the Bloomberg article.

Before the walkout, delegates had made some progress on technology transfer to developing nations and promoting the use of forests as carbon sinks. But delegates are still worlds apart on two key issues: emission cuts and financial support for poor nations.

China and developing nations have not budged on their demands for only rich countries to have legally binding targets, while some developed countries including the U.S. are calling for enforceable reductions for poor countries, reports Bloomberg News.

Japan and Australia joined the U.S. in criticizing a draft pact that says major developing nations must curb greenhouse gases, but only if they receive financing, reports Business Day.

According to a new report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, countries’ pledges so far will reduce annual emissions to about 49 billion tons in 2020, above the 40 billion tons maximum needed to achieve the 2-degree temperature target, reports Bloomberg News.

According to the Vancouver Sun, tens of thousands of protesters over the weekend (Dec. 12-13) demanded that world leaders take action on climate change.

The draft climate pact distributed to the 192-nations on Friday did not contain firm figures on financing or on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and there still is no decision on whether the draft is a legal document or political declaration, reports CCTV.

Delegates are still split on issues such as raising funds for poor countries and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions curbs, as the tiny island of Tuvalu still calls for a new treaty with deeper cuts in greenhouse gases, reports Reuters.

The United Nations wants to raise $10 billion a year from 2010-12 to help developing countries deal with global warming and move away from fossil fuels, but estimates that it will cost about $300 billion a year from 2020 to fight global warming due to impacts such as droughts and flooding, reports Reuters.

On Dec. 12, Norway and Mexico launched a joint model for climate funding at the conference to help finance adaptation and mitigation efforts in developing countries, reports Xinhua News Agency. The model, which combines earlier proposals by both countries, would set up a Green Fund based on contributions from public budgets and auctions of UN allowances.

The fund would start with about $10 billion in 2013 with a target funding of $30 billion to $40 billion by 2020, according to the article.

Meanwhile, George Soros, the billionaire investor and philanthropist who plans to invest more than $1 billion of his own money into clean energy technology, says the current $10 billion proposal is not enough, reports

Soros said the gap between what developing countries want and what developed countries are willing to pay could be closed by moving $100 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is being used to support financial systems hit by the economic downturn, to help finance adaptation and mitigation efforts, reports

U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change Todd Stern said any agreement needs to include developing countries that will have the greatest growth in emissions, reports News Market.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei said on Dec. 13 that failure is not an option; the climate change conference must succeed in order to avoid global warming, reports Xinhua.

According to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao carbon emissions per unit of GDP in developed countries were reduced by 26 percent from 1990 to 2005 and will decrease by 30-40 percent by 2020 under their current commitments, but China has pledged a 40-45 percent cut, reports Xinhua.

While delegates continue to debate financing and GHG emission curbs, U.S. and European chief executive officers (CEOs) are urging delegates for a climate commitment in Copenhagen.

The Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs at leading U.S. companies, and the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), a forum of leaders of major European-headquartered companies, released a common set of principles document (PDF) that provides a guideline on how to slow, stop and reverse greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The guideline calls for long-term GHG emission cuts from all major emitters, appropriate action from all other countries, global common reporting standards, integrating energy efficiency into mitigation measures and carbon financing programs.

Currently available technologies could reduce global GHG emissions 35 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, according to a report released by McKinsey and Company earlier this year. The total cost of implementing all of the measures contained in the report would be less than 1 percent of global gross domestic product.

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