UK for Climate pact to go beyond Kyoto

UK for Climate pact to go beyond Kyoto Copenhagen: The UK on Monday made it clear that the potential agreement at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference would have to go beyond the Kyoto Protocol and that global emissions would have to peak by 2020.

Ed Miliband, UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said all "major countries" would have to submit for monitoring and verification all actions taken to combat climate change.

He also underlined that the present conference should produce financial commitments to developing countries that go beyond the fast-start fund of USD 10 billion.

Miliband made it clear that the potential agreement at the Copenhagen would have to go beyond the Kyoto Protocol and that global emissions would have to peak by 2020.

"I think developing countries should understand that for the Kyoto Parties to sign a partial legal treaty now with many countries outside would be irresponsible for the climate because we would be accepting that we would have a continuation of only some countries being in the treaty," Miliband said in his first press conference.

He said global emissions have risen since Kyoto and the central aim for these negotiations is to ensure that we peak global emissions by 2020 and "we can only do that with commitments for countries beyond the Kyoto Parties".

On the same day, environment ministers from the emerging economies Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) left the scheduled informal ministerial meetings protesting that the negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol were being ignored and the Africa group threatened to boycott the present proceedings.

The Kyoto Protocol sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries called Annex 1 countries for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.

The overall Climate negotiations are moving under two tracks – the first is under the Bali Action Plan that requires parties to produce a legally binding treaty before the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012.

The second track is the extension of the Kyoto Protocol into the second commitment period from 2013 to 2018 where developed countries listed under Annex B will have to take binding cuts.

China and India want the negotiations to urgently deal with the Kyoto Protocol and especially the clear targets for the second commitment period.

But the European Union, Australia and other developed countries want to merge the discussions into one track to produce one legal agreement with larger obligations on emerging economies.

Noting that UK was against continuing the situation of Kyoto where only some people were in a legal treaty because that would be "a massive disservice to the planet."

Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development, said Kyoto "was hugely important but it was partial in its reach and the prize coming out of Copenhagen is to ensure an inclusive agreement that allows us with credibility to address the science".

Noting that difficulties in the process and substance of the negotiations, the Miliband joined the US and EU in calling major developing countries to report and verify actions taken to combat climate change.

Miliband said it is important that "we are trying to do something here that has never been done before that is to get every major country in the first instance to either commit reduce in emissions or actions in case of developing countries".

"We do need transparency about those actions and commitments. That is an important part of any agreement," the minister added, stressing the importance of a precise system of monitoring and verification "to ensure that people actually follow through on what they’ve promised."

Miliband noted that it was possible to make progress on this front since agreement had been made on reporting and verification for actions taken by developing countries that are financially supported from abroad.

However, the Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has made it clear that India’s "unsupported action" (which are not backed by funds or technology from outside) to combat climate change will not be subject to international scrutiny.

"All evaluation for unsupported action will be done domestically and unaccountability will be with our parliament nobody else," Ramesh said here, noting that progress on unsupported actions could be submitted through a National Communication to the United Nations for "information" purposes only.

The European Union and United States have called on emerging economies to submit all their action taken with US chief negotiator Todd Stern stating that it would not suffice for developing countries to just post their domestic action taken to combat climate change for information and that powerful economies would need to demonstrate a greater commitment.

Miliband also stressed that developed countries need to agree to provide more on finances adaptation, mitigation and deforestation over and above the fast-track money of USD 10 billion that will go the poorest countries.

Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development, said long term and predictable financing is what the developing world wants and needs". "It is important to understand that if you are looking to move your economy on a low carbon path then you need a degree of predictability," Alexander underlined.