Mexico is making some last-ditch efforts at a consensus

President of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Patricia Espinosa on Wednesday decided to constitute smaller groups headed by ministers to discuss contentious issues at the climate change conference, a move which backfired when Bolivia walked out during one of the ministerial meetings.

Japan's refusal

The host, Mexico, is making some last ditch efforts at a consensus and the much discussed balanced package of decisions, which seem rather remote at this point.

While officially there is optimism about the talks, Japan's continued refusal to commit to a second phase of the Kyoto Protocol threatens the very existence of the Protocol.

Single-track negotiations

Meanwhile, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, which is part of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), has proposed a single track of negotiation — which India is opposing.

The proposal demands that the ad-hoc working group on the Long-Term Cooperative Action (LCA) plan under the UNFCCC continue its work with renewed urgency in order to present, to the COP for adoption at its 17th session (at Durban), a legally binding instrument as its final agreed outcome to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the convention.

Meanwhile, African NGOs on Thursday condemned Kenya's statement in the plenary session calling for making the LCA plan legally binding as an all-encompassing treaty and consider extending the Kyoto Protocol till the LCA was legalised. Mithika Mwenda from the African Climate Justice Alliance said the text was prepared at the behest of Japan. He alleged that Japan was putting pressure on countries which wanted the second phase of commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. In fact, there has been much discussion among the African states on this issue.

“It is not an African position,” said Mr. Mwenda, and called on all the leaders to stand up for the continent and support the second commitment period.