Ecuador: US has no right to ‘kidnap’ Paris climate talks

US-led drive for pact without legal force is conditioning outcome at UN COP21 summit, warns environment minister

By Alex Pashley in Paris

Ecuador’s climate chief accused the US of skewing a global climate deal, in an interview with Climate Home on the sidelines of COP21.

President Barack Obama is demanding a non-legally binding pact, so he can steer it past a hostile Republican-dominated Congress.

The US is among a few countries engineering a less ambitious pact with “no resources” for developing nations, Daniel Ortega Pacheco said at the Paris talks.

“What I can tell you is there is no right for any country to kidnap the negotiation process, and condition the outcome for the rest of us.”

Ortega recognised steps taken by the Obama administration to tackle counter climate change, but said the lack of a legal framework to bind countries to carbon-cutting pledges left no “track for implementation”.

Ecuador makes up the leftist negotiating bloc ALBA with Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela, which walked out on a deal in 2009.

Ortega said the bloc was the “voice of conscience” at the talks, fighting for climate justice for the poorest people of the planet.

An oil extraction levy and a proposal to compensate developing countries for keeping forests in the ground were examples of “very positive” initiatives made by Ecuador, he said.

A joint climate declaration by Latin America and Caribbean states expected before the Paris summit is expected within the next few days  he added.

This article has been changed to reflect that Ecuador didn’t say they would veto a deal. The oil levy and other proposals were shared just by Ecuador, not ALBA. And a declaration by Latin America and Caribbean states is expected in a few days.

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