There is widespread indignation over Japan's statement on the Kyoto Protocol that it is not for a second phase of commitment. There is a likelihood of the country being isolated by the international community, which has expressed its faith in the Kyoto Protocol.

While the European Union on Thursday said it was willing to consider a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, there is a danger that the developed nations may look to one another while taking a decision.

Almost every group of nations has strongly reacted to Japan's statement made on Monday. While the negotiations continue and are expected to pick up steam with the arrival of ministers and leaders from various countries at the Cancun United Nations climate change conference, there is a sense of dejection.

India's stand

India has been maintaining, along with other developing countries, that the Kyoto Protocol needs to continue and provide a crucial framework for climate change mitigation. It has also held that commitment to the second phase is important for a balanced outcome at Cancun, and mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer and finance are vital issues for a balanced outcome.

Clarity on the fate of the Kyoto Protocol is important to move ahead in the whole process.

Most countries affected by climate change say they cannot afford to have a gap between the first commitment period, which ends in 2012, and the second phase.

Meanwhile, issues of technology transfer have been straightened out to a large extent, except those relating to intellectual property rights. Good progress has been made on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)-plus, official sources said.

As for technology, the discussion on the technology execution committee and the climate technical centre and networks had been ironed out while the relationship between the two is under discussion, with the U.S. contending that they should be independent entities.

The consensus on the technology issue is a big leap from 20 years and it looks as if at long last there is a mechanism in place for transfer of technology from the developed to the developing nations.

However, technology transfer, as are mitigation and adaptation, is tied to financial commitments. Unless that vital question is sorted out, the other things will remain in abeyance. With Japan throwing a spanner in the works, the negotiations have come up against a fresh challenge though not unexpected.

The U.S. meanwhile, is showing great willingness for a balanced outcome. However, as it is not bound by the Kyoto Protocol, it has nothing to lose.

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