I can’t yet make sense of what is actually happening in Durban, but China, it seems, wants the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol for the developed countries, and wants them legally bound to deeper cuts in the order of 45% by 2020. Then it has indicated it will come to the party.
Their attitude is based on the ‘legacy concept’ – those who caused the problem should fix it, while the developing countries should continue to place the highest priority on development for the next decade.
India appears to be essentially with China, although they claim to be flexible.
The US will not sign up to anything unless the major emitters sign and won’t start to talk before 2015. The 5 biggest emitters are, in order, China, the US, India, Russia and Japan.
Most of the developing countries want an extension of Kyoto, and desperately want legally binding cuts. They want the major developed countries legally bound, with penalties, and don’t trust anything else.
The EU is willing to continue with a Kyoto phase 2 if everyone signs up to talks leading to an agreement by 2015, to be implemented from 2020. They are supported by a handful of Kyoto Annexe 1 countries like Norway and Sweden and at least 90 developing countries, making about 120 in all. Unfortunately all countries must agree, not just a majority.
It seems the diplomatic fix might be to use the words “legal instrument applicable to all parties” according to The Guardian. This appears to have accommodated the US, but at the expense of weakened commitments to emissions cuts.
There are reasons for continuing Kyoto other than straight commitments to emissions cuts. The relate to arrangements that have grown up as part of Kyoto implementation, such as the Clean Development Mechanism and standard methods of emissions reporting.
At the end of the scheduled talks, it seems the developing countries cracked up, forcing the talks into Saturday with a new draft drawn up overnight.
This report from The Guardian identifies major developing economies such as Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, many African countries and the world’s least developed economies as supporting the EU proposal. This group must include many but not all of the 132 countries in the Group of 77.
In the earlier post this link suggested that there were divisions within the large G77 group. Durban seems to have verified that smaller groups with a clearer community of interest have re-emerged. Groups supporting the EU proposal include most African countries, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) bloc and the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis). The Latin American Alba group (which would include Bolivia) is urging is urging deeper carbon cuts than are currently on the table and more legally-binding language in the text.
This deconstruction into smaller groups is more democratic, but makes the achievement of an overall agreement more difficult. It should be noted that India and many of the larger emitters, such as South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia and Iran are in the G77.
Recent information, to 1pm Saturday comes from Friends of the Earth.
Reuters reports that many of the developing countries have had to catch their planes. Also resentment at the lack of leadership from South Africa.
This BBC report also complains about how the South Africans handled the talks and tells of an amazing fake text that apparently fooled everyone for a time. It also outlines the Indian position. There’s more here.
This report from 8.55pm GMT on Saturday says the talks will spill over into Sunday, for those who are left.
At this point I’ll give you two graphs from The Global Carbon Project’s Carbon Budget 2010:
The balance between developed and developing countries is changing dramatically. This on identifies the top 20 emitters:
I think the EU taken together, said to represent 11% of emissions, would come in third.
India clearly has a case that it needs more development. But clearly also if the developing countries keep charging ahead as the are now, the planet will be in trouble by 2020.
I think Jagdish Bhagwati has an interesting approach which would see the transfer of technology to developing countries and a differential contribution to the Green Climate Fund based on historic emissions. Interesting, but probably politically impossible.
On another thread David McRae linked to this item about the voice of youth. The author fingers the EU as the real stumbling block. I respectfully disagree. I think the US the conflicting attitudes of the US and China need to be resolved, along with India, Japan and Russia. In other words the big polluters. Of the major players I think the EU has perhaps done better than the rest in resolving the conflict between selfishness and altruism.
Game theorists will tell you that consensus between 194 countries under these circumstances is impossible. They could be right.
The earlier post is here.