It seems that the climate change deal expected to be finalized during the December meet at Copenhagen will have to wait. The last round of formal negotiations before the global summit ended in acrimony today at Barcelona. As usual the blame game between developing and developed nations started and the developing countries threatened to walk out of the December conference unless rich countries commit themselves to far greater cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
“Little progress was made [this week] on the key issues of emission targets and finance that would allow developing countries to limit their emissions and adapt to climate change,” said Yvo de Boer, the UN director of the talks. “Without these two pieces of the puzzle in place we will not have a deal. Leadership at the highest level is now required to unlock the pieces“.
U.S. is likely to be blamed the most for not meeting its carbon emission commitments following an economic recession.
The United States is likely to bear the brunt of the blame among recession-hit developed nations for an expected six- to 12-month delay to a new global climate deal hoped for December in Copenhagen.
U.S. failure to match expectations with a carbon target by the December deadline may dent confidence in its power to ever be able to deliver, despite President Barack Obama’s strong commitment to fight climate change.
As per the plans the participating nations were meant to agree to a global deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol on global warming which officially ends in 2012. Experts are of the view that the legal document would not be ready for signing at the Copenhagen meet given the fact that the U.S senate has not passed a supporting law.
G77 which represents 130 developing nations in the treaty said that they would walk out of Copenhagen if rich nations did not offer far deeper emission cuts and more money.
“If there are no ambitious targets and timetables in the first few days then there will definitely be a reaction,” said Lumumba Di-Aping, chair of the G77.
Meanwhile Jonathan Pershing, the US chief negotiator, denied such charges. He said that U.S. commitment on actual reduction targets do not make much difference to the talks.
The UN, EU and NGOs voiced sentiments in line with that of the developing nations. They felt that the U.S. was “endangering years of negotiations”, and hopes of tackling global warming, if it did not come up with firm targets. Anders Torrson, the Swedish chief negotiator said, “We need a figure from the US. It is very important for a deal to have the biggest emitter there with a concrete figure which should be legally binding,”.
Though the most critical part of the talks hang in balance, progress was made on a technology agreement, reducing emissions from deforestation in poor countries, and ways to distribute funds to help countries adapt to climate change. Centers of technological excellence are likely to be set up around the world which would have staff trained to help poor countries with renewable energy.
In a related development Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) pushed the climate bill through the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Thursday, but it’s becoming clear the bill won’t get far before the Copenhagen meet. Republicans are boycotting the bill while Democrat Senator Max Baucus of Montana who chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee voted against it. The Senate Finance Committee also needs to approve the legislation. Baucus wants the carbon emission reduction target to be set at 17% by end of 2020 with a clause to push the limit to 20% if other nations also agree to meet 20% goal.
Members of Greenpeace hung a banner on Friday in Barcelona, reading “Climate chaos: who is to blame?” from a statue of explorer Christopher Columbus, symbolically pointing towards America.
“We single out President Obama because, more than any other head of state, his actions fall short of his promises to take action on climate change,” said Damon Moglen, Greenpeace’s U.S. climate director.