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Environmental federation Friends of the Earth International and Spanish group Ecologistas en Accion expressed their dissatisfaction at the lack of political will and of major commitment from the industrialized countries at the new round of the United Nations climate negotiations that ended on October 7 in Panama City.
The G77 + China, which comprises over 130 developing countries and China in the international talks, considered there was some progress, but it also showed concern over the obstacles put by developed nations.
In a press release issued on October 7, Friends of the Earth International expressed “strong concerns over renewed attempts by rich countries to tear up the framework for global action on climate change at the United Nations climate negotiations. The talks in Panama this week have seen a further push by rich countries to scrap the convention and replace it with a new, far weaker climate treaty which would set the world firmly on a path to catastrophic climate change”
The environmental federation explains that “for the past two years the US, followed by Japan, Australia and Canada have made a concerted attempt to get out of their obligations under the UN climate convention which was agreed almost 20 years ago”. Their obligations include: greenhouse gas emissions reduction, the transfer of funds for mitigation and adaptation to climate change to developing nations, and clean technology transfer to those countries.
The United States is the only country that has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol signed in 1997. The protocol is the only international agreement for legally-binding emissions reductions for rich, industrialised countries. The first period of the Kyoto Protocol (that began in 2008) ends in 2012, and the second period, if agreed at the international negotiations, would go from 2013 through 2017.
Kate Horner, Policy Analyst with Friends of the Earth US, said: "The United States is the cuckoo in the nest of the Climate Convention, not satisfied until it has destroyed all the progress made over the last 20 years and a weak agreement that benefits its own narrow, short-sighted interests is in place."
Meanwhile, Ecologistas en Accion accused the European Union of failing to comply with its commitment to fund efforts to tackle global warming and said the bloc is “being irresponsible on climate change issues”.
In a press release issued by the Spanish organization on October 7, activist Tom Kucharz said: “There is no international progress. There is lack of permanent action from the governments and the EU is using the excuse of the economic crisis to justify the strong steps backwards in terms of climate change and in the promotion of destructive energy policies”.
Ecologistas en Accion demands the EU “to move forward unilaterally in order to prevent the Kyoto Protocol’s death. Russia, Japan and Canada’s reluctance to a second commitment period is not an argument to fail to offer more significant commitment to the world”, said
Kucharz. “The EU has a big historical responsibility on the emissions, therefore, it should do more”.
Meanwhile, the G77 + China said in its latest press release from Panama on October 7, that there was some progress in the negotiations, although it demanded all the states to agree on specific texts in the different areas negotiated.
However, days before, the group of developing countries plus China had asked the industrialized nations for greater commitment. “The US and others have to stop explaining why they won’t take action and face the consequences of what their inaction entails.” said Jorge Argüello, Chair of the G77 and China.
He said about the 17 Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Durban from November 28 to December 9: “Durban will be a success only if we are ready to extend the Kyoto Protocol on to a second commitment period. This is our goal, this is our commitment”.
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