Brasilia: Brazil said today it would press rich countries attending climate change talks in South Africa to renew their commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto protocol.
A 12-day round of talks under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) got underway in Durban today under a process launched under the 1992 Rio Summit.
"At the centre of all is the second period of commitments under the Kyoto protocol," said Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota.
Signed in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol saw most developed nations agree to legally binding commitments on curbing their greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for global warming.
Those commitments are due to expire at the end of 2012 and, if there is to be a second round of legally binding pledges, they would need to be made at the Durban meeting.
"The protocol is an essential tool in the fight against climate change and its extension is necessary to maintain a high level of ambition" in the negotiation outcome, Patriota said in an official statement.
He added that Brasilia would not accept rich countries stepping back to "lower levels of commitments."
The United States, the world`s biggest polluter, never signed up to the Kyoto Protocol.
Russia, Canada and Japan ratified the original agreement but have indicated they will not sign up to an updated protocol if the United States and major emerging nations such as China do not.