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Doubt cast over Kyoto Protocol’s future
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UN meeting again ends with few advances on combating climate change.

More than 200 delegates participated in the United Nations Climate Change talks in Bangkok, Thailand April 3-8, but yet again, the meeting yielded little more than exactly that: talk.

The preparatory meeting for the 17th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP17, was the first since the talks in Cancun, Mexico last December, which also ended with few binding agreements to combat greenhouse gas emissions.

Japan, where the agreement was first forged, along with New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Russia did not support an extension of the Kyoto Protocol, which went into effect in 2004, when it expires in 2012 and instead, said they would establish their own emissions-reducing plans.

The European Union, however, defends the extension for the 2008-2012 period in which industrialized nations must reduce emissions by 5 percent based on 1990 levels.

“It’s not particularly encouraging to see countries saying there won’t be a second commitment period,” said Dessima Williams, Grenada’s ambassador to the United Nations, and a representative of the Alliance for Small Island States, a group of 42 island and low-lying coastal states and observers from the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and the Pacific. “None of us wants South Africa to be the burial ground of the Kyoto Protocol.”

Representatives will meet for the next round of climate talks in Durban, South Africa next November.

Ecuadorian representative, Daniel Ortega, said the extension of the Kyoto Protocol “is not negotiable.”

“It is an obligation that we hope will be fulfilled as soon as possible,” he said, adding that the world will enter into a “legal void on a planet that cannot handle any more emissions” if no consensus is reached in Durban.

Latin American and Caribbean countries, also, were unable to reach a position. Just eight presented individual plans: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru, all depending on international financing.

Additionally, eight member nations of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, or ALBA, including hydrocarbon-rich Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela, along with Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, Dominica, Nicaragua, and St. Vicent and Grenadines, opposed the carbon bonds market, a mechanism included in the Kyoto Protocol that allows industrialized nations to meet their emission reduction targets by purchasing carbon credits in low-emission countries.

“The developed countries are historically responsible for global warming,” said Claudia Salerno, head of the Venezuela delegation and spokeswoman for ALBA. “We’re not going to allow developed countries to continue masking reality, enjoying the carbon markets they buy from poor countries.”

The second preparatory meeting for the COP17 talks in Durban will be held in June in Bonn, Germany.
—Latinamerica Press. 

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Latinamerica Press / Noticias Aliadas
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