December 10, 2009

Developing Countries split is widening

In today’s plenary session on CDM (Clean Development Mechanism), many small developing countries criticized India and China. Thus, the developing country split is widening, and the chance for pressurizing the developed country blocks for a legally binding reduction is also receding. Small island states and poor African nations vulnerable to climate impacts laid out demands for a legally-binding deal tougher than the Kyoto Protocol. This was opposed by richer developing states such as China, which fear tougher action would curb their growth.
Tuvalu demanded - and got - a suspension of negotiations until the issue could be resolved. Tuvalu's negotiator Ian Fry made clear that his country could accept nothing less than full discussion of its proposal for a new legal protocol, which was submitted to the UN climate convention six months ago.
"Tuvalu is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change, and our future rests on the outcome of this meeting."
The call was backed by other members of the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS), including the Cook Islands, Barbados and Fiji, and by some poor African countries including Sierra Leone, Senegal and Cape Verde.
Several re-iterated the demand of small island developing states that the rise in the global average temperature be limited to 1.5C, and greenhouse gas concentrations stabilized at 350 parts per million (ppm) rather than the 450ppm favored by developed countries and some major developing nations.
Fast-growing economies such as China, India and South Africa oppose the lower target of 350ppm because they feel that meeting it would retard economic development.
Here, they also opposed Tuvalu's call for a new legally-binding protocol to run alongside the existing Kyoto Protocol, arguing that the existing convention and Kyoto agreement are tough enough.
The split within the developing country bloc is highly unusual, as it tends to speak with a united voice.
(By Mr Soumya Dutta)


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