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Last Updated: Monday, 10 December 2007, 10:23 GMT
No unity yet at UN climate talks

Praying man on beach. Image: AP
Protestors have held a number of events including beach prayers
Disagreements over responsibility for tackling climate change remain much in evidence as UN climate negotiations enter their second week.

The EU and developing countries want industrialised nations to start talks on a further set of emissions targets.

But this is being resisted by a number of parties led by Canada.

Trade ministers, meeting for the first time at UN climate talks, advocated lowering trade barriers on low-carbon energy products.

But this met with opposition from some development charities, which accused Western countries of "recycling failed WTO initiatives".

The two-week negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Kyoto Protocol are being held in the beach resort of Nusa Dua in the Indonesian island of Bali.

No caps

The backdrop to the summit is the comprehensive assessment of climate science, impacts and economics produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) during the course of 2007.

The US and the EU have steadfastly refused to reform their own unfair trade practices
Barry Coates, Oxfam
Its recommendation that global greenhouse gas emissions should peak and then start falling within 10 to 15 years has been included in a draft text circulated to negotiators in Bali.

The text also says that industrialised countries should cut their emissions by 25-40% by 2020.

But Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC executive secretary, told reporters that these targets had little chance of making it into the final agreement.

The Bali meeting will not set national targets for reducing emissions beyond those contained in the Kyoto Protocol which expire in 2012. But the EU and other pro-agreement parties want the meeting to conclude with a "Bali roadmap" for agreeing a set of targets by the end of 2009.

"I really hope that [national emission caps] is a discussion that will be taken up toward the end of that two years rather than here," said Mr de Boer.

Sideline distraction

US opposition to the Kyoto Protocol has partly been predicated on the argument that major developing countries, as well as the industrialised world, should accept binding targets for reducing emissions.

The argument has been freshly made in Bali by Canada. A set of "Canadian Principles for a post-2012 Climate Change Agreement", leaked to environmental groups, states: "The agreement should include binding emission reduction targets for all major emitters.

Tourists sunbathing. Image: AFP/Getty
Other visitors to Bali have been enjoying the island's hot climate
"Developed countries should be required to take action more quickly, but major industrialised developing countries should also have binding targets."

Major developing economies such as China, India and Brazil argue that their per-capita emissions are a long way below western levels, and that taking on targets would slow their economic growth

In September the US hosted the first meeting of the "major economies" group - also known as the "big emitters" - bringing together the biggest greenhouse gas producers from the developed and developing worlds.

The same group has been meeting again on the fringes of the Bali talks, which environmental groups say is a US move designed to undermine the UN process. The US has announced a further "big emitters" summit at the end of January.

Trade barriers

Developing countries have been pushing for a deal in Bali that would ease the transfer of clean technologies from the industrialised world.

Over the weekend, trade ministers discussed a US-EU proposal to liberalise the global market for "green" goods and services through the World Trade Organization (WTO), which proponents argue could increase take-up of these technologies in the developing world.

Brazil was angered by the exclusion of bioethanol. And activists accused the EU and US of seeking market access for their own goods.

"The US and the EU have repeatedly sought market access in developing countries, including for environmental goods and services, but they have steadfastly refused to reform their own unfair trade practices," said Barry Coates, executive director of Oxfam New Zealand.

"This proposal could create the impression that the climate change challenge at the WTO can easily be addressed through promoting trade in a select few goods and services."

Finance ministers will also assemble during the second week of the Bali talks.



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