COP17 Latest: China opens door, but India slams it shut

By John Parnell
RTCC in Durban

China has said it will discuss the possibility of legally binding emission reductions with the EU but the Indian delegation has ruled out the possibility till 2015.

China’s lead negotiator Su Wei told reporters that the country would “not rule out the possibility of legally binding [sic]. It is possible for us, but it depends on the negotiations”.

“Since the EU is the only group of parties that is ready to consider a second [Kyoto protocol] commitment period we are ready and willing to engage constructively with the EU,” said Su.

Yesterday the US said it would not consider its own binding emission reduction obligations as long as “major developing economies” were not bound. China would certainly count as one of those however, India today responded less positively.

“The objective in Durban should not be a new treaty,” said JM Mauskar, special secretary to the Indian Ministry of Environment. “In Cancun we decided to set up the review process for 2013-2015. With the help of this and the next IPCC assessment, we will be able to decide on the future direction,” said Mauskar.

The Indian delegation is at its first COP since the dismissal of popular environment minister Jairam Ramesh in July.

“The Indian delegation is currently in a period of transition. Jairam Ramesh was removed in July and things seem to have slowed down,” suggested a member of Indian civil society at the conference.

“They were slow when Ramesh first started as well.”

“The Indian delegation is very experienced and they are good at what they do. They have submitted an equity paper and while an equitable deal is important, there’s nothing in it to help move the overall process along.”

There has also been confusion over the size of the Indian delegation with different sources numbering it from 15 to 42 members, making it smaller than many comparative nations.

The gridlock over Kyoto and a new binding deal looks likely to remain as senior politicians begin to arrive for the ministerial level segment of the talks next week.

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