Poor countries ask rich ones to act first

By Joydeep Gupta, IANS
Monday, December 7, 2009

COPENHAGEN - Rich countries must curb their pollution instead of asking poor countries to act, the Group of 77 countries and China said here Monday.

Speaking at the opening plenary session of the Dec 7-18 summit, G77 chair, Stanislaus-Kaw Di-Aping of Sudan, said: “There should be categorical reaffirmation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), its principles and positions, and in particular, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities” at the conference.

Asked to state the Indian government’s position on the opening day of the much-awaited summit, a senior member of the official delegation told IANS that it had been reflected in Di-Aping’s statement, which had been drafted at a G77 and China meeting just hours before the opening session.

The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) says that all countries must do their best to fight climate change, but industrialised countries had the primary responsibility, since they had put in the atmosphere almost all the extra greenhouse gases - mainly carbon dioxide - that were causing climate change today.

The Sudanese ambassador to the UN also said at the opening session that the Bali Action Plan worked out two years ago on how to go about fighting climate change “must continue to be the mandate for our negotiations”.

“We should utilise the remaining negotiating time to make every effort possible to achieve an outcome in keeping with the above mandate,” Di-Aping said.

The G77 “rejects attempts at putting aside the Kyoto Protocol in favour of a single legal instrument where the emission reduction obligations of developed countries would be reflected alongside similar objectives of developing countries, thereby violating the CBDR principle”, he added.

Industrialised countries have been making a concerted effort to replace the Kyoto Protocol - the current treaty under which they must reduce their emissions - by a new treaty, because the US has not ratified the protocol, and other developed countries feel they must bring the US on board efforts to combat climate change.

Di-Aping also said: “The emission reduction targets indicated so far by developed countries fall far short of what is required, especially considering that their emissions have continued to increase.”

He added: “The importance of REDD Plus should be recognised and included in any outcome at Copenhagen.”

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is an important item on the summit agenda here, with industrialised countries expected to pay developing countries for this. India and China have come up with the idea of REDD Plus instead, under which countries that improve their forest cover should also be paid for it.

Filed under: Environment, World

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