Bloomberg News

UN May Seek Kyoto Extension Without Canada, Japan, Russia

October 10, 2011

(Updates with comments from Figueres from second paragraph.)

Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- United Nations climate negotiators in Durban, South Africa, next month may seek to extend the Kyoto Protocol, excluding Canada, Japan and Russia, said Christiana Figueres, the UN’s top climate diplomat.

The European Union’s conditional willingness to extend “has been exceedingly helpful by building a bridge” between developed and developing nations, Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Convention on Climate Change, said today in London.

Government envoys meet in Durban next month to work out a way to extend or replace Kyoto, a treaty capping greenhouse gases whose targets lapse in 2012. Canada, Russia and China have all said they won’t accept new binding targets under Kyoto unless all major economies are bound.

An extended Kyoto would be different from the existing agreement, Figueres said at a seminar held by the Carbon Markets & Investors Association, a lobby group, and DLA Piper LLP, a Chicago-based law firm. “For a start we will have three countries less,” she said.

Any extension of Kyoto would still require agreement from about 200 nations at the talks, which would be a challenge to negotiate, Figueres said in an interview after her speech. “Nothing is easy to get. Nothing is impossible.”

A global treaty can’t be achieved at next month’s talks in Durban, envoys from the U.S. and European Commission said last week. Talks are at an impasse over which nations should take on binding targets to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions linked to the earth’s warming, Jonathan Pershing, the U.S. deputy special envoy for climate change, said Oct. 7 said in Panama City.

The EU said it will extend the accord only if all major economies including the U.S. agree to be part of a separate legally enforceable treaty, according to Pershing. The U.S. rejects the current UN system, which pools major economies such as China, India and Brazil with smaller developing nations in a group that has fewer commitments than developed countries.

--With assistance from Jim Efstathiou Jr. in New York. Editors: Rachel Graham, Rob Verdonck

To contact the reporter on this story: Mathew Carr in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at

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