Weak plan to save Kyoto pushes Doha talks to brink

Last Updated: Sat, Dec 08, 2012 18:57 hrs

pWeak proposals to extend until 2020 a shrivelled UN plan to fight climate change pushed marathon talks to the brink of collapse on Saturday Delegates from nearly 200 nations spent hours poring over a package deal put forward by the host OPEC member Qatar that would also postpone until 2013 a row over demands from developing nations for more cash to help them cope with global warmingppDeveloping nations were divided over the modest deal that all sides said fell short of recommendations by scientists for tougher action to try to avert more heatwaves sandstorms floods droughts and rising sea levelspp&ldquoThey face two unpalatable options &mdash accept a weak text or risk the collapse of the entire talks&rdquo said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned ScientistsppThe draft deal would extend the Kyoto Protocol for eight years It had obliged about 35 industrialised nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average of at least 52 per cent below 1990 levels during the period from 2008 to 2012ppKyoto will expire at the end of 2012 if it is not extended and has been weakened by the withdrawals of Russia Japan and Canada The United States never ratified it and its backers led by the European Union and Australia account for just 15 per cent of world greenhouse gas emissions Expiry of Kyoto would leave the world with no legally binding deal to confront global warming merely a patchwork of national laws to rein in rising carbon emissionsppThe two-week UN meeting in the Qatari capital had been due to end on Friday but the talks went on past mid-day on Saturday &ldquoI believe this is a package we can all live with&rdquo conference president Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah said as he presented the Qatari proposal early on SaturdayppMost importantly the proposal would keep alive hopes for a new global UN deal to fight climate change due to be agreed by 2015 and enter into force by 2020 after past failures The 2015 deal would set goals for all nations including emerging economies led by China and India that have no targets under KyotoppstrongTarget reviewstrongbr Qatar proposes that parties to Kyoto would have to revisit their targets for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2014 perhaps to make tougher goals a concession to developing nations that had wanted Kyoto extended by only five yearsppIn a blow to the demands of developing nations for a clear timetable for a promised tenfold increase in aid to 100 billion a year by 2020 the draft deal merely agreed to put off decisions to 2013pp&ldquoThe only thing that negotiators seem to be able to agree on is to defer difficult decisions to the next meeting&rdquo said Kumi Naidoo head of environmental group GreenpeaceppThe United States Europe and other developed nations facing an economic slowdown at home have refused to set a timetable for a rise in aid The document also outlined possible ways to meet developing nations demands for a new mechanism including insurance to help them confront losses and damage caused by rising sea levels or storms linked to climate changep

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