Sat, 10 Dec 2011 09:50:41 GMT

South Africa not ready for EU Roadmap, defends India



From Betwa Sharma
Durban, Dec 10 (PTI) Dismissing the news of joining a new climate pact proposed by the European Union (EU) for a legally binding treaty to be signed by 2015, South Africa has said there is no "split" among the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) countries on the issue.

"We already have a Roadmap�the Bali Roadmap," Alf Wills, South Africa''s lead negotiator on climate change said following an intense day of negotiations. He was referring to the plan of action to combat climate change, which was decided in 2007.

Wills also defended the Indian position by saying that it made sense for the Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan to want to learn about the "content" of any treaty before agreeing to its legal form.

However, the South African official and Natarajan both maintained that there was no split in the BASIC alliance.
"BASIC is on the same page," the Indian minister said.

Earlier, European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard had said that South Africa and Brazil rallied to the proposal supported by the EU, vulnerable small-island states and least-developed countries.

The climate talks in Durban, which were set to conclude on Friday, are spilling to Saturday. Delegates have been negotiating for hours at stretch and well into the night.

India, US and China are under pressure to accept a legally binding treaty proposed by the EU, which will come into force by 2020.

India has expressed its anger at the developed world for shifting the burden of its "historical responsibility" on the developing world.

The Indian diplomats have pointed out that the developed countries did not deliver on their promises of mitigation, adaptation and technology under the Kyoto Protocol, which is the only legally binding treaty on climate change.

Under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, 37 developed countries accepted legal obligations to reduce carbon emissions during a first commitment period, which expires next year.

Some countries like Japan and Canada are withdrawing from the treaty citing it ineffective because it left out the bulk of carbon emission produced by China, India and the United States. The EU is willing to sign up for a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol if emerging economies agree to the 2015 treaty.

For India, getting a second commitment period for developed countries is paramount. However, the developed countries argue that the world has changed rapidly in the last decade leading to greater emissions on part of developing countries. China and US are the largest carbon emitters.

Hedegaard pointed out that if the EU Roadmap is agreed to in Durban, it will be a critical step in dissolving the developed and developing countries classification, which has been central to the climate change regime since the first legally binding treaty was signed in 1997.

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