LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - The world’s major economies have set conditions on a global deal to combat climate change, at U.N.-backed talks this week in Durban, South Africa.
Countries have already agreed voluntary, domestic pledges to curb carbon emissions through 2020, widely viewed as inadequate to meet an international goal to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.
In addition, the existing Kyoto Protocol commits nearly 40 industrialised countries to binding action until 2012, with the exception of the United States which never ratified it. It is unclear whether some of these countries may agree to extend the protocol until 2020.
Now all countries are debating whether they can commit this week to sign by 2015 a global, internationally binding deal which would take effect from 2020.
The major players have each set conditions for a deal by December 9, the final day of the Durban meeting:
CHINA - (the world’s top emitter)
Last Sunday China set five conditions to making its domestic climate action binding under an international agreement from 2020:
1. Developed countries must extend beyond 2012 their existing obligations under the Kyoto Protocol
2. Countries must set up a fund to channel climate aid to developing countries, as agreed at a climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, last year
3. Completion of other parts of the Cancun agreement including a deal to distribute low-carbon technologies to developing countries
4. A review in 2015 on progress in fighting climate change, also agreed in Cancun
5. Continued separation of the responsibilities of developed and developing countries as agreed under a 1992 climate treaty
THE UNITED STATES - (world’s number two emitter)
Has made a long-running condition that it will only make its actions binding under an international climate pact if China and other major economies stand behind their commitments with equal legal force.
The United States refers to this condition as “legal symmetry”.
It has accepted that emerging economies such as China would take on weaker commitments in terms of absolute emissions cuts, as poorer countries which are still growing their economies.
The EU was the first to open the door to a global deal in 2015, proposing that option in advance of the Durban conference.
The EU has also already agreed to China’s first condition, to extend its Kyoto obligations beyond 2012.
But it has made a condition to extending Kyoto that all major emitters including the United States and China agree to sign by 2015 a global deal submitting their own emissions to international curbs from 2020
Have all said they won’t extend the Kyoto Protocol, preferring a global deal involving major emerging economies and the United States. (Compiled by David Fogarty in Singapore, Chris Buckley in Beijing, and Gerard Wynn and Jeff Coelho in London; Editing by Jon Boyle)