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Updated: December 16, 2009 08:31 IST

We are more ambitious than Kyoto: EU

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A banner reading "Time for Climate Justice" is seen above the entrance of a church as people walk to attend a service in Copenhagen.

The European Union has categorically stated that it prefers a single agreement that “goes beyond Kyoto”, following protest by environment ministers of BASIC countries and Africa that negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol were being ignored.

“We prefer a single agreement,” Stavros Dimas, the European commissioner for environment, told journalists here on Tuesday.

“We really support the architecture of Kyoto...we want to use all the good things of it but it’s not enough. We’re more ambitious than Kyoto,” he said.

The overall climate negotiations are moving under two tracks — the first track is LCA under 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.

The United States, however, is not a party to the Protocol.

The BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) and Africa want the developed countries to make mitigation pledges under the second commitment period from 2013-2018 but the European Union, Australia, Japan, Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) want a document broader than the existing Protocol that puts obligations on United States and emerging economies.

On Monday, all consultations were suspended as the BASIC countries ministers went and asked the President of COP 15, Connie Hedegaard, for assurance that urgent attention would be given to the Kyoto Protocol and especially the clear targets for the second commitment period.

Referring to the suspicions that EU is trying to move away from Kyoto Protocol to get out of their commitments, the Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren said, “We are not at any level trying to elude the level of our binding commitments. Its not that we’re try to weaken the binding of our targets“.

“Rather, on the contrary, we want legally-binding economy wide targets that should cover all developed countries and we also need commitments to actions from the emerging economies,” he added.

The EU also noted that it had always been a strong supporter of Kyoto having set up emissions trading system and invested in Clean Development Mechanism with 80 per cent of the of 23 billions Euros in CDM projects coming from the bloc.

Pointing out that the US and China were the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, the EU called on the two countries to raise their “ambition levels” adding that the US should accept legally binding targets and China should commit to action.

Calling for “symmetry”, Dimas underlined that it did not make any sense for the existence of two treaties, which could create ratification problems.

“All this would come in the simplest way in a single agreement. It will be consistent, avoid duplication, avoid institutional differences and a lot of other advantages,” he said.

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