EU says US “ping-pong” blame game with China must stop

By John Parnell
RTCC in Durban

European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard called for more clarity from developing countries on their willingness to cut emissions. (Source: EU)

The EU called for the US and China to stop their “ping-pong” blame game and clarify their positions on a global deal, during a press conference on Wednesday.

“The cost of buying time is rising,” said Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action.

The EU has backed a second commitment period of Kyoto but wants assurances that are other major emitters are willing to commit in the future. The US, which did not ratify Kyoto has said it will not consider a new global deal until major emerging economies, including China, sign-up as well.

“We are not looking for them to tell us what they will commit to, but that they will commit,” said Hedegaard. “Those who won’t even say they will commit in the future take on an unbearable responsibility,” said Hedegaard.

Asked how the EU’s position differs from that of the US given that both are dependent on other developing nations, Hedegaard said: “The difference is whether your emissions have gone up or down since 1990. The difference is whether you ratified Kyoto.”

The US was also branded “ignorant and arrogant” by Jo Leinen, chairman of the European Parliament delegation at COP17, for passing a bill to forbid US airlines from taking part in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

Leinen said they were arrogant for not respecting EU legislation and ignorant for not appreciating the value of the ETS.

The EU will include aviation in its ETS as of January 1 2012. All flights landing or taking off within the EU will be included, regardless of the nationality of the airline, the final destination or the origin of the flight.

On Tuesday, the BASIC group of countries described the EU move as a “trade action, hidden in the guise of climate”.

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