Kyoto controversy…. A bad news from Cancun By Tanveer Arif, FANSA Pakistan

Kyoto controversy…. A bad news from Cancun

By Tanveer Arif, FANSA Pakistan

A dispute over the question of extension of Kyoto Protocol beyond its shelf life expiry date 2012 has created water down effect on already “not so hopeful” climate talks here at Cancun. And guess…it’s not USA as usual; but to surprise of many, this is Japan, which is not interested to save Kyoto Protocol (KP) which is named after its own famous city! Can you believe it? ECO, the daily newsletter of NGOs has awarded Japan as “Fossil of the Day”.

Negotiations at Cancun are creeping at slow pace on a post-Kyoto framework, majority of countries want to see the landmark treaty, which is meant to cut carbon emissions, to survive beyond 2012, its expiry date. Japan now believes that KP is unfair and covers less than 30 percent of planet’s greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. Climate change activists are shocked at Japan’s firm stance and insistence on not extending KP.

The KP, was negotiated in 1997 at Kyoto, Japan. It aims for developed nations to cut emissions by an average of 5% by the end of 2012 compared with 1990 emissions levels. However the main issue is that the emission control restriction doesn’t apply on the giant polluters such as USA, who withdrawn from the treat in 2001, and China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Japan maintains that it does not make sense to go for the second commitment period under the KP as currently obligations are imposed on only a small part of developed countries.  Japanese negotiator Hideki Minamikawa said that this position of Japan on KP has been “clearly decided” by their cabinet.

This position of Japan has made KP a major issue at Cancun. Negotiators of many countries seemed deeply concerned on this position, and they are saying that solving this problem is fundamental to having a positive outcome in Cancun. The CoP-16 goals are already modest, a year after great disappointment of the Copenhagen summit. A failure in Cancun could be an irrevocable damage to the climate convention as KP is the only solid thing came out of it.

Developing country delegates are clearly worried on this situation. They fear a snow ball effect from avoiding second commitment period as Canada is also not very enthusiastic about the treaty. However some experienced negotiators think that in the end everything will be alright and they will succeed in getting second phase of KP.

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