2 December 2011
As delegates from 190 countries seek to negotiate a new international agreement for cutting carbon emissions at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa has urged Canada to reconsider entering into a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol.
“South Africa believes the climate change talks must be inclusive to assist the process of ensuring a balanced outcome to emerge from the current talks,” Environmental Affairs Minister and leader of the South African delegation at COP 17, Edna Molewa, said in Durban on Thursday.
Molewa said the effects of climate change were real and “already here with us”.
The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), currently taking place in Durban, is also the 7th meeting of parties to the Kyoto Protocol, which is due to expire at the end of 2012, unless renewed.
Canada ‘made similar threats last year’
Reports say Canada, which has failed to meet its emissions reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol, will announce next month that it will formally withdraw from the treaty.
UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres confirmed this week that Canada had made similar threats to pull out of the Protocol last year.
South Africa called on Canada and other developed countries to ensure that they heeded the call made by the developing countries, particularly in Africa and the Small Island Developing States, who bear the brunt of climate change.
Kyoto Protocol ‘an important first step’
“The Kyoto Protocol is an important first step towards a truly multilateral rules-based legally binding global emission reduction regime that will stabilise GHG emissions, and provides the essential base for international agreement on climate change involving the participation of all countries in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and capabilities,” Molewa said.
The first commitment period of the 1997 treaty is coming to an end next year, and developing countries are pushing for a second commitment period, but major economies, including the United States and Japan, are refusing to commit.
Analysts say the reluctance by Canada to sign up for a second commitment may further strengthen the position by some developed countries that the Kyoto Protocol was “flawed”.
The European Union has said it would agree to the new commitment to the Protocol but has placed conditions on this, including the demand for a change in the framework of the convention.