No detailed deal in Copenhagen: UN climate chief

By Joydeep Gupta, IANS,

Bonn: It will be “physically impossible” to have a detailed deal to tackle climate change by this December’s summit in Copenhagen, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said here Wednesday.

Support TwoCircles

However, he hoped, the “Copenhagen (summit) will deliver clarity on key political issues in this debate, that there will be clarity on the extent industrialised countries will reduce their (GHG) emissions, and clarity on what major developing countries (including India) are willing to do to mitigate their emissions.”

He also hoped that there would be “clarity on financing developing countries” to help them mitigate their emissions and adapt to climate change, and that there would “clarity on the governance structure” to administer these funds.

Taking stock of progress at the June 1-12 meeting here to prepare for the December summit – by when a climate deal was scheduled to be inked – de Boer said various countries had added 200 pages to the draft deal in the last two days, thus adding to the complexity of the negotiations.

Plus, progress on crucial talks on the Kyoto Protocol had been “far less positive” than expected, de Boer said. “There has been no agreement on the new collective target for Annex I countries.”

He was referring to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction target for industrialised countries (Annex I) for the period beyond 2012, when the current “commitment period” under the protocol runs out.

This has been the major sticking point at climate talks for months, with industrialised countries unwilling to commit to a reduction target, and some saying they will not do so at all unless major developing countries like India and China commit to capping their GHG emissions.

Developing countries including India have pointed out that almost all GHG in the atmosphere – mainly carbon dioxide – has come from industrialised countries. Excess GHG emissions are leading to climate change, which is affecting farm output, making droughts, floods and storms more frequent and more severe and raising the sea level. India is among the countries worst affected.

There was more gloom on this front Wednesday among delegates from 182 countries gathered here and the NGOs shadowing their every move after Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso announced that his country would be willing to reduce its GHG emissions by eight percent after 2012 compared to 1990 levels, just two percent above its current commitment under the Kyoto Protocol.

Asked to react to this announcement, de Boer first said: “For the first time in my two and a half years in this job, I don’t know what to say.”

Pressed further, he added: “We’re still a long long way from the ambitious emission reduction scenarios of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) that are a beacon” for the world.

Given the current situation of the talks on an international climate deal, the UNFCCC chief said that negotiators would meet here again in August, “when the real exercise to whittle down the proposals and the serious drafting” of the text of the deal would start.