UN climate talks publish revised draft text

 
Climate talks plenary hall, Durban (Image: Reuters) Delegates will resume efforts on Saturday morning to reach an agreement that suits all sides

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Nations at the UN climate talks appear to be edging their way to agreeing that a process towards a new carbon-cutting deal should start in the New Year.

A draft text circulated by the South African host government says the new agreement should be in place by 2015.

All nations would be included, though the exact legal nature is not clear.

The move marks a success for the ad-hoc alliance formed between the EU and scores of the world's most climate-vulnerable countries.

Earlier drafts had said negotiations should not begin until 2015, and should not take effect until 2020.

The new version does not specify a date from which the new agreement should come into force.

But it does for the first time explicitly endorse the fact that there is a mismatch, a gap, between the pledges countries have made on cutting emissions and their stated goal of keeping the rise in average global temperatures since pre-industrial times below 2C (3.6F).

The draft emerged around midnight in Durban as negotiators on many of the other detailed strands of the UN climate process were settling in for a long night's work.

It will be formally discussed on Saturday morning, with the meeting expected to conclude late in the day.

Ministers from the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis) had greeted the earlier draft with anger.

Protester holding a night-time vigil outside the conference hall, Durban (Image: AP) Protesters say the talks are not doing enough to prevent dangerous climate change

"It doesn't have enough ambition, the legal arrangements are ambiguous, and the time-frame doesn't work for us," said Dessima Williams, Grenada's UN Ambassador.

"Most of the important ingredients are to take place after 2020, and that's just not soon enough for us."

The earlier draft text had closely resembled the positions of the BASIC group - Brazil, South Africa, India and China - and the US.

One seasoned observer of the UN process said the proposals "buy 10 years' delay in action for the US, China, India and Brazil, and risk making the most vulnerable countries 'road kill' on the big emitters' highway to the future."

Aosis produced its own text, some of which appears to have found its way into the new draft.

How the new version will be greeted by the BASIC group and the US is not yet clear.

The EU, Aosis and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) bloc may also ask for tighter wording on the legal side, emphasising that they want the new agreement to be genuinely legally-binding.

Finger pointing

India has been accused of being one of the main countries blocking a progressive deal here, along with China and the US.

Climate change glossary
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Adaptation
Action that helps cope with the effects of climate change - for example construction of barriers to protect against rising sea levels, or conversion to crops capable of surviving high temperatures and drought.

But India's Environment Minister, Jayanthi Natarajan, said this was not the case.

She said her concern had been to understand what the EU "roadmap" to a new agreement involved.

"I don't find myself at odds [with Aosis] at all, I think I share their concerns - they want quick action, we want quick action," she told BBC News.

"The fact of the matter is there should be very quick action, and my very quick action is that want a review of what Annex One countries have done and we want to know how far they've gone, and I'm willing to listen to what Aosis says."

She said the "firewall" marked in the UN climate process at its origin in 1992, which divided the world into Annex One - rich countries with commitments to reduce emissions - and everyone else, must be maintained.

Annex One states bore responsibility for their earlier greenhouse gas emissions, she said.

A number of observers suggested that of the BASIC bloc, Brazil and South Africa were minded to move towards the EU/LDCs/Aosis position - and if China did likewise, India and the US would then come under intense pressure to give ground.

Rising anger

The main lobby of the conference centre in Durban, South Africa, saw a long demonstration on the final afternoon, with campaigners demanding progress.

"Listen to the people, not the polluters," they chanted.

The last of the demonstrators was led away about an hour-and-a-half later.

Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo was among those escorted from the conference centre for leading the protest.

"The United States delegation is right now organising, line-by-line, the means by which United Nations member states will be eradicated from the map," he said.

"I ask the proud American people, in whose name this is being done, to take just a moment today to consider what they would do if they learned that a conference of powers was plotting to wipe their great nation off the map, because for low-lying islands that is the future they face."

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Comments

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  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 48.

    Worlds Population

    Currently around 7bn.

    The rate of increase is declining in ALL countries. Global population is predicted to peak at about 9bn then drop back to around current levels.

    We currently produce enough food for 20bn and can produce enough for 100bn on existing grasslands.

    Do the maths and think scientifically, people.

    ...and don't worry.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 47.

    @45

    Any claims to scientific credibility sank without trace, when you listed AIDS as a scam, in your last (#36) post...

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 46.

    Dave Grogan@40

    The AGW "contrarian" ideas have all been looked at and refuted one by one over the years:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    Remember that 97% of climate scientists agree that the climate is changing and that humans are responsible:

    http://sks.to/consensus

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 45.

    37 JonF The world's scientist are absolutely clear

    No they are not. They are not even allowed to debate the subject or test the data which is weighted and collected on non-scientific principles.

    It is simply NOT possible to predict global climate variation because there are too many variables.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 44.

    We are just as much to blame.
    unlpug your TV your mp3, satellite, phone charger. turn out some lights, walk the shops, better yet get a bike. buy local produce that hasn't travelled half the world,
    buy groceries when needed not to schedule, better yet grow your own.

    your governments are only protecting your lifestyles, you need to change for them to follow.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 43.

    Al Gore! Al Gore! Where are you? Where is your film sequel?

    Title "an inconvenient lawsuit".

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 42.

    Ryan1356@33

    The behaviour of CO2 in the atmosphere has been known for a very long time:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    The energy coming in to the planet from the sun has been decreasing over the last 35 years, while the temperature has been going up:

    http://sks.to/sun

    How can it be the sun if the energy from there is declining while the global temperature is increasing?

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 41.

    Until the world's population is brought under some control, we can forget about protecting the natural resources such as coal oil and gas. The population growth is completely unsustainable and has to stop. Once the world's population hits 10 billion, more than 2 Earths will be required for food and resources.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 40.

    I too welcome Richard`s opening this article to comment. There is a need for more active debate. It does not seem that the science is settled and it does appear that the BBC has been less than generous to contrarian opinion.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 39.

    Isn't it time this fashionable global scare-story departed so that world leaders can get on with something which helps real people, now? If similar scares had come to anything we would by now have no oil, computers would have been destroyed by the millennium bug, the ozone layer would be gone, but it wouldn't matter because few would have survived CJD, SARS, AIDS or whatever. Give us a rest!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 38.

    @31

    Endless repetition of Contrarian myths does not miraculously transform them into scientific facts.. be skeptical, be very skeptical...
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 37.

    The world's scientists are absolutely clear that we now face mass loss of life. The failure to act upon the dire warnings is criminal and we now need to think how we can prosecute the politicians for manslaughter - they do not want to kill, but they know they will kill... in the millions!

  • rate this
    -30

    Comment number 36.

    Acid Rain, Oil Reserves, Hole in Ozone Layer, Aids, Avian Flu, Global Warming, Global Cooling... and now "Climate Change".

    Interesting how these unfounded scourges of mankind have taken root in recent years.

    Where is the scientific rigour?

    How can 1000 years of global temperatures be 'deduced' from a few tree rings and core samples? It's simply not possible!

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 35.

    This whole sham is a waste of time and money.India,China,Brazil and others will continue to expand their respective economies well into the future.And so they should co2 is not a pollutant and catastrophic climate change a monstrous exaggeration.

  • rate this
    +17

    Comment number 34.

    Why does it surprise anyone that only a weak deal was achieved ? Most of the people making the agreement are politicians who are owned by the corporations or career bureaucrats who are told what to do by them. A strong deal means higher expenses for the corps. The politicians will not vote against their golden goose owners.

  • rate this
    -7

    Comment number 33.

    I believe in climate change but it is not caused by co2 emissions which we are taxed on when we drive. People breath out co2...Maybe people should be taxed for being alive. Or perhaps cows should be taxed. The sun is the main driver of climate change and that fact does not seem to be considered in any climate change debate. Blaming climate change on co2 is the con of the century.

  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 32.

    By 2020 there will be nearly another billion people on the planet requiring fresh water, land for crops, somewhere to live, etc. as well as energy. The possible impact of energy production on climate is only one aspect of a much larger and more pressing problem.

    David Attenborough explains it with much more eloquence and authority than me at:

    http://populationmatters.org/

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 31.

    No climate warming for 15 years, sea levels falling, antarctic ice at record extent, solar activity suggesting global cooling for next 30 years, and the Climategate 2.0 emails showing yet again what shoddy 'science' man-made global warming is based on. What's the fight?

    Having 15,000 people flying to Durban on private jets, ferried in limousines and staying in luxury hotels does not impress.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 30.

    Computer models, retrospective statistics, hysteria, propaganda and a large dose of threats.

    That's what climate change means.

    We are presented it as fact....when they cannot do a weather forecast accurately for next week.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 29.

    @26 yes I have read a fair bit actually & I'm guessing I've understood a lot more than you.

    My point is that you literally _cannot_ compare proxy data from tree rings or fairy dust to measurements from globe spanning weather satelites.

    Therefore we have NO idea what the temperature was 500 years ago or even 100 years ago. None.

    btw. Science is _NEVER_ settled. If it's settled it ain't science!

 

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