Saturday, 8 October 2011

U.S moots ‘modernisation’ of UN climate change convention

By Makereta Komai for Climate Pasifika in Panama

06 October 2011 Panama --- The United States has mooted the idea of the ‘modernisation’ of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Dr. Jonathan Pershing, US Deputy Special Envoy for climate change
Now ten years old, the Convention enjoys universal membership of 194 State Parties. The Convention was adopted in 1992 as a basis for global response to climate change. It’s ultimate objective is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

At the climate talks in Panama City this week, the US argued that as of 2009, nine of the top 20 emitters of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are from developing or non-Annex 1 countries, according to the Third World Network (TWN), a daily publication on climate change negotiations.

While the U.S did not name these countries, it urged the 194 Parties to the Convention to consider ‘graduating’ non-Annex 1 countries.

“The other option would be to eliminate the Annex 1 –non Annex 1 distinction and take more continuum approach. The continuum would apply to common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, reports TWN.

Both India and Philippines criticised the U.S suggestion saying it was clear that emissions of the past, a large part was due to developed countries and that was why there was a differentiation between Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 countries.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), whose members fall under the category of non-annex 1 countries disagrees with the U.S position.

AOSIS chair, Ambassador Dessima Williams said under the Convention, Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 countries have different legal obligations.

Developed countries who are historically the cause of the problem have to take obligatory actions under the Conventions.

“Developing countries under the Bali Plan of Action have two points – one, we must focus our priority on poverty eradication, that’s our main obligation. Our second obligation is to move away from business as usual. If you notice, developing countries are doing both.

“We cannot do that – eradicate poverty and disrupt business as usual until and unless we get some support, argued Ambassador Williams.

Most of the debate around the negotiations for the past three years now has been the push by industrialised or Annex 1 countries for major developing nations like Brazil, South Africa, Indian and China, whose global emissions are high to make similar mitigation commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

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