Climate deal sealed in Bali

(15.12.2007   Times)

Negotiators trying to agree a road map for a new international climate change
deal finally managed to broker a compromise deal today after days of wrangling.  
Following tense talks, ministers from around 180 countries meeting in Bali agreed
the agenda for a global emissions cuts agreement to launch negotiations for a
post-2012 agreement to tackle climate change.

Agreement for the road map followed a dramatic U-turn by the US, which had threatened
to block the deal at the 11th hour and been booed by other countries.

The US dropped its opposition to poorer countries’ calls for technological and
financial help to combat the issue.   Ministers worked through the night to hammer
out the details of an agenda for the agreement which will replace the current
Kyoto Protocol.

[Unfortunatly the EU had to] concede on one of the main sticking points – the
inclusion in the road map of a reference of 25% to 40% emissions cuts by developed
countries by 2020, which scientists have said are necessary to avoid dangerous
climate change.

The EU had insisted the figures were in the document because they are based on
the science of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and an ambitious
road map was needed.   But the US demanded – and won – their removal, claiming
they could “prejudge” outcomes of negotiations over the past two years.

[The Europeans have also had to accept]  a road map in which the targets were
missing, as were references to the need for emissions to peak within 10 to 15
years and for global greenhouse gas output to halve by 2050.

Instead the document said countries recognise that “deep cuts in global emissions”
will be required, and calls for a “long-term global goal for emissions reductions”.

In turn the US conceded over the issue in the road map of how much developing
countries need to do to curb their emissions.   Paula Dobriansky, the head of the
US delegation, said: ….”We will go forward and join consensus.”     President
George Bush has complained that it would unduly damage the US economy, and emission
caps should have been imposed on China, India and other fast-growing developing

Campaigning groups said the deal had been stripped of important targets and hit
out at the US’s “wrecking policy” but were pleased the talks had been brought
back from the brink of collapse, with the alliance of the G77 developing countries
with the EU.

Greenpeace said that the agreement had been stripped of the emission reduction
targets that humanity needs.   ?They  said it remains confident that mounting public
pressure on every continent will force governments over the next two years to
agree “inevitable” deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.   A number of emerging
economies have put creative, flexible plans on the table, but will have little
incentive to negotiate further until the industrialised world agrees deeper cuts.

[A Christian Aid spokesman] said “We were expecting a road map, and we’ve got
one. But it lacks signposts and there is no agreed destination.”

The process to 2009 should at a minimum deliver an extension of the first phase
binding commitments beyond 2012 as well the engagement of a broader group of nations
with binding commitments.

UK Friends of the Earth director, Tony Juniper said: “Many of the developing
countries brought good proposals to Bali – they know we need a climate deal –
but the industrialised nations have let them down.   We urgently need to find a
way forward for an international agreement.   This is a journey we have to make

“We only have two years to build on this weak outcome and develop a just deal
which ensures tough action from industrialised countries and assistance for people
in the developing world.”

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Hilary  Benn said: “This is an historic breakthrough and a huge step forward.  
For the first time ever all the world’s nations have agreed to negotiate on a
deal to tackle dangerous climate change concluding in 2009.”