EU climate chief casts doubt on Kyoto Mk II

Connie Hedegaard

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action (Source: World Economic Forum/flickr)

By RTCC staff

The EU will only commit to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol at COP17 in Durban if all major emitters are involved in a ‘broader framework’.

Speaking in an Environment Committee debate at the European Parliament, EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said a second Kyoto commitment period on its own was not an effective response to rising greenhouse gas emissions.

“A second commitment period with EU (almost) alone in it would cover only around 11% of global emissions,” she said.

“This cannot constitute “success” in Durban – what happens to the remaining 89% of global emissions? When and how will these countries be committing?”

Last month’s report by the US government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that global energy consumption is set to rise by 53% from 2008 to 2035, with the Chinese and Indian economies driving demand.

Emissions from China, India and Brazil are expected to rise by 2.7% each year on year, with coal accounting for the majority of those rises.

Hedegaard’s statement could be seen as the EU adopting a tougher line on developing states, similar to that taken by US negotiators over the past decade.

“What is at stake for Durban is precisely to go beyond the current Kyoto / non-Kyoto divide, and to ensure that all countries, developed and developing, commit to do their fair share as part of a global undertaking,” she said.

“In this context, the EU is willing to consider a second Kyoto period, but only as part of a broader package where other major emitters are engaged in a broader framework, and where Kyoto rules are improved to ensure environmental integrity.”

Ministers will decide on their final negotiating position during the EU Parliament’s 15-17 November plenary session.

This week EU finance ministers reaffirmed their commitment to assisting developing nations with funding to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

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