Climate talks suspended after rebellion over drafts
Developing states most at risk from global warming rebelled against a proposed deal at U.N. climate talks Friday, forcing host South Africa to draw up new draft documents in a bid to prevent the talks collapsing.
South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane suspended the talks in Durban after a coalition of island nations, developing states and the European Union complained the current draft lacked ambition, sources said.
“There was a strong appeal from developing countries, saying the commitments in the proposed texts were not enough, both under the Kyoto Protocol and for other countries,” said Norway’s Climate Change Minister Erik Solheim.
The European Union has been rallying support to its plan to set a 2015 target date for a new climate deal that would impose binding cuts on the world’s biggest emitters of heat-trapping gases, a pact that would come into force up to five years later.
Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent told Reuters there was “serious negotiating to do” if the conference was to wrap up as planned Friday.
“The (current) draft discusses the legal framework. There are different points of view and this is what this process is all about,” he said. “Legal framework works for us at this point.”
The crux of the dispute is how binding the legal wording in the final document will be. The initial draft spoke of a “legal framework,” which critics said committed parties to nothing.
The new draft being worked on by the hosts could mention a “legal instrument,” or even “protocol or other legal instrument,” language that implies a more binding commitment.