Now in the second and final week of talks in Bangkok on a climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, tensions were running high as negotiators representing 180 countries attempt to whittle down the exhaustive 200-page document before Copenhagen.
"The reason why we are not making progress is the lack of political will by Annex 1 (industrialized) countries," said Yu Qingrai, China's special representative on climate talks, the Guardian reports. "There is a concerted effort to fundamentally sabotage the Kyoto Protocol."
Lumumba Di-Aping, the Sudanese chair of the G77, which represents 130 developing nations at the talks, said "feelings are running high" among G77 states. "The intention of developed countries is clearly to kill the protocol," he said.
Most developing nations want to keep the same framework of 1997 Kyoto, which expires in 2012. Under that arrangement, developing countries wouldn't be required to make binding commitments on cutting their greenhouse gas emissions. But 37 wealthy nations would have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.
As time winds down before the Copenhagen meetings, poor countries are complaining that rich nations seem to be on a path to carve out a new agreement that forces them to cut their emissions, while rich nations will get away with minimal cuts.
The United States, Japan and Australia have offered a number of proposals in Bangkok, moving away from internationally binding emissions cuts. Instead, individual countries would pledge their own cuts without binding timetables and targets.
"The United States wants only to have a national target without binding it to a global treaty. It appears to have won over many other developed countries," said Martin Khor, the director of the South Center, a think tank of poor countries based in Geneva, the Guardian reports.
Yu said the proposals would lead to the termination of the Kyoto Protocol and all it stands for. "They are introducing new rules, new formats. That's not the way to conduct negotiations," he said.
"We are faithful to the Kyoto approach, its system, in its entirety," Yu told reporters. "We believe the different pieces must be kept together. It is a holistic system with commitments, with instruments, with compliance systems. We cannot pick and choose."
While developed nations have yet to come up with a figure on what their emission cuts should be, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change proposes emission cuts of 25 percent to 40 percent for wealthy nations by 2020 compared with 1990 levels. Developing countries, however, think the aggregate cut should be at least 40 percent.
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