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Updated: December 15, 2009 19:30 IST

UN panel whips up new draft at climate summit

PTI
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GRIM OUTLOOK: A character dressed as death on horseback holding a scythe, rides past a balloon in Copenhagen. With barely hours before Heads of State arrive at the summit, UNFCCC, a key panel issued a new draft of measures against climate change. Photo: AP
AP GRIM OUTLOOK: A character dressed as death on horseback holding a scythe, rides past a balloon in Copenhagen. With barely hours before Heads of State arrive at the summit, UNFCCC, a key panel issued a new draft of measures against climate change. Photo: AP

As negotiators raced against time to hammer out a deal on climate change, a key UN panel today issued a new draft on measures to combat the problem but provided no figures for long-term goal of cutting carbon emissions and financing for poorer countries.

Environment ministers gathered here were scrambling hard to put together an agreed text for their leaders, who will attend the plenary of the 12-day climate change conference on Friday.

The new draft text, which also did not mention ‘peaking’ year for greenhouse gas emissions, was issued by one of the two negotiation tracks set up by the 194 nations of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

US President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown would be among the 110 heads of state or government participating in the final leg of the December 7-18 climate talks on Friday.

Developing nations led by African countries had walked out of the climate talks yesterday, accusing the rich nations of not doing enough to arrest global warming and making attempts to undermine the Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol, agreed upon in 1997, requires rich nations to cut emissions by 2012 and imposes penalties if they fail to do so. It makes no demands on developing countries.

The new draft could be seen as a victory for developing nations, which led by Africa, had yesterday walked out of the talks leading to a temporary suspension in the negotiations.

The talks had resumed after the Chair of COP-15 and Danish Minister Connie Hedegaard assured them that the conference would proceed in a “fully transparent” manner and without any “surprises”.

As he left for Copenhagen, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in New York that “time is running out” and there was “no time for posturing or blaming“.

In Vatican City, Pope Benedict XVI said that the rich nations have a “historic responsibility” to solve environmental problems.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had late last night hinted at some forward movement on the controversial first draft issued on Friday. He said there have been some developments on the three provisions of the draft prepared under the Long Term Cooperative Action (LCA) track, which India had termed as “unacceptable”.

Mr. Ramesh had met ministers of several AOSIS members, who had moved the disputed provisions and suggested alternative formulations to them.

Last week, the chair of the LCA, Michael Cutajar, had tabled a draft text in which Article 3 calls on all parties to reduce the emissions by 50, 85 or 90 per cent by 2050.

Article 4 calls on all parties to “peak” as soon as possible, recognising that developing nations will do it later than developed countries. Article 8 calls for a comprehensive review of the implementation of mitigation obligations with the first one in 2016.

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