COP17 Latest: Support broadens for new legally binding deal as Australia and Japan say ‘yes’

By John Parnell
RTCC in Durban

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A new globally binding deal would look to cover a larger proportion of the world's emitters (Source: Jason Hawkes)

Australia and Japan told delegates in Durban that they support a new legally binding deal, during an edgy meeting at the UN climate change talks yesterday evening.

The two countries, which have both rejected a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol after it expires next year, are willing to look at a new agreement encompassing “major economies”. Australia said a deal must set obligations for a broad set of parties.

They were joined in their calls by the Less Developed Countries (LDCs) and the EU during talks, which one delegate inside the room described to RTCC as “calm but tense”.

Colombia and the Marshall Islands demanded that work on the text of a deal should begin immediately. China sought to limit the conversation to the mere possibility of a deal, rather than its actual substance.

Grenada, representing the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) said it preferred a second commitment period of Kyoto and accused some nations of having “a 2012 vision rather than a 2020 vision”. Venezuela went one step further saying that the failure to produce a second commitment period would represent “a wrongful act”.

There were also calls for a voluntary set of pledges, as suggested ahead of the Durban conference. These were dismissed by the representative of Bolivia as “untrustworthy”.

The current Kyoto commitment period expires in 2012. While some nations favour a second period under Kyoto, others prefer the development of a new set of legislation covering a larger percentage of the world’s emissions. The nations covered by Kyoto are responsible for around 15% of global greenhouse gas production.

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