Bloomberg News

EU Says Kyoto Extension Requires Road Map for Climate Treaty

November 27, 2011

(Adds remark from UN envoy from fourth paragraph.)

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The European Union said any agreement to extend the Kyoto Protocol’s limits on greenhouse gases requires all other polluters to promise when they’ll sign up to a legally-binding treaty curbing fossil fuel emissions.

The 27-nation bloc said it accounts for about 11 percent of global emissions and that it can’t act alone on emissions blamed for damaging the climate. Kyoto’s curbs expire next year. Japan, Russia and Canada have said they won’t sign up to further commitments under the pact.

“We would only be politically able to move ahead into a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol if there is at least a road map forward with others saying when they are going to come into the climate fight,” Artur Runge-Metzger, the European Commission’s lead negotiator, said at a press briefing opening two weeks of climate talks in Durban, South Africa.

The remark from the region that’s done the most to limit carbon dioxide emissions since Kyoto was negotiated in 1997 sets a key hurdle for envoys seeking to renew efforts to combat global warming. The United Nations envoy leading the talks acknowledged the future of Kyoto is the main question mark facing the talks, though she didn’t give a sense how other nations would react to the EU position.

‘The Issue’

"Governments have arrived with a very, very clear view that the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is THE issue on the table, and it is intimately linked with whatever they are going to decide," on a broader deal, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said in an interview. "It’s too early to know, but I haven’t see anyone shrinking away from this."

Developing nations including China and India had no targets under Kyoto and since have become two of the world’s three biggest polluters. The U.S., which ranks second behind China, never ratified the pact, saying it wanted wider participation from both rich and poor nations.

Kyoto’s future has emerged as the main stumbling block for the talks in Durban, which are scheduled to finish on Dec. 9.

A Durban road map “should have all major economies and bring 100 percent of emissions under one global umbrella,” said Polish envoy Tomasz Chruszczow, whose nation holds the European Union’s rotating presidency. “This should be negotiated no later than 2015, and it should be operational not later than 2020.”

The EU also said it wanted changes to the rules governing the Kyoto Protocol before it signed up to an extension. It wants changes to provisions on forestry and land use emissions as well as the way surplus emissions credits are carried over from one commitment period to another, Chruszczow said.

--Editors: Reed Landberg, Edward Evans

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net


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