Copenhagen treaty threatens Kyoto Protocol: Shyam Saran

India has said that the Copenhagen Accord opens a window for the burial of the Kyoto Protocol.

New Delhi: India has said that the Copenhagen Accord endorses the view that the rich nations have the responsibility to agree to emission reduction cuts but conceded that it also opens a window for the burial of the Kyoto Protocol in the future.

However, it said that future of the Kyoto Protocol, which commits industrialised nations to undertake legally binding emission cuts, depends on the way the post-Copenhagen negotiations are carried out.

"That it opens a window and that possibility is there, of
course. But that depends on how we take the negotiations
forward," Prime Minister`s Special Envoy on Climate Change
Shyam Saran told a news channel.

He was replying to a question on whether the Copenhagen
Accord opened a window for a new treaty that would allow the
burial of the Kyoto Protocol.

"What I am trying to point out is that in a sense we have
agreed that we will live to fight another day," he said adding
that the Copenhagen Accord was "beyond a step forward" in the
efforts to tackle climate change.

Saran said that a major achievement of the Copenhagen
talks was that the parties had agreed that the negotiations
would continue on the twin tracks of the Bali Action Plan and
the Kyoto Protocol.

"We have also at the same time agreed to carry on the
negotiations on the basis of Bali Action Plan. It (the
negotiations) is not settled yet. The important achievement of
developing countries is that they did not allow this saga to
end (at Copenhagen)," Saran said.

The Accord was "taken note of" by the 15th Conference of
Parties at their extended meeting in the Danish capital on
December 19.

"I would say it (Accord) is beyond a step forward because
here you have an Accord which touched upon all the major
outstanding issues...and in a sense represented a very broad
consensus of the global community," Saran said.

The Kyoto Protocol cannot be forgotten or buried "for the
simple reason that it is a valid legal instrument," he said of
the 1997 pact that mandates the rich nations to take up
legally binding emissions while exempting the developed
nations from doing so.

Saran said at the moment all the nations have agreed that
Kyoto Protocol must remain and "we should continue the talks
on that track".

"The battle (between developed and developing nations on
emission cuts) is not settled yet. The Accord has not exempted
the developed countries from legally binding emission cuts and
even from historical responsibility.

"What Copenhagen has done is to endorse the view that the
developed nations have a responsibility to engage in absolute
emission reduction while the major developing countries have
the responsibility of mitigating the rise in their emission,"
he added.

In the absence of consensus at the two-week meet which
concluded on December 19 in the Danish capital, world leaders
will have to work to achieve a global legally binding climate
change treaty at the next annual UN ministerial talks in
Mexico in December 2010.

Saran, who was India`s lead negotiator at the summit,
defended the government`s stand of agreeing to the provision
of "international consultation and analysis" in the Accord and
asserted that "it will in no way affect India`s sovereignty."

"What we have agreed to is consultation and analysis
according to agreed guidelines which must not violate any
nation`s sovereignty," he said noting that the Western nations
were pushing for more harsher actions by trying to incorporate
words like review and verification in the document.

Saran made it clear that "we will consult in terms of
whatever we have put forward as information on our action (on
climate change) and if there is some doubt on data then we are
ready to give them (to the developed world).

In fact, he said at the hectic negotiations at the
climate meet, "what we were worried about was the kind of
review which would look at the adequacy of our mitigation

"But we should not have any difficulty in terms of
transparency of our actions so whatever we are giving for
instance to Parliament as information or whatever targets we
have undertaken."

Saran made it clear that the consultation and analysis on
mitigation actions by developing countries would be done under
a set of agreed guidelines. "We have to negotiate on what
would be guidelines for such consultations and analysis.

"What we were not willing to accept was any kind of
verification or review in the sense that somebody will come to
us and say look I am going to scrutinise your strategy for
development or your climate change action plan and tell you
whether it is adequate or not," he added.

Saran rejected suggestions that the developed countries
have got away without agreeing to any quantified
legally-binding emission reduction targets.

"They have not got away with it because they have agreed
for continuing the negotiations," Saran said.

He underlined the close cooperation among Brazil, South
Africa, India and China -- the BASIC group -- at Copenhagen.

Saran noted that during the last two years of
negotiations, the four countries had worked together,
coordinated their positions and in a sense even shaped the
position taken by the G-77 plus China bloc.

A highlight of Copenhagen talks was that the cooperation
among BASIC countries was elevated to the summit level, Saran
said adding that the top leaders of the four nations met in
the morning of December 18 to strategise their position and
were together again in the evening to review the day`s events.

"Yes it could be," Saran said when asked if the BASIC
grouping could be a major force in international negotiations.