ministers to decide over the next two days, Lumumba Di-Aping, spokesman of the G-77 group plus China, contested the stand of Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh, that a rise in global temperature by 2 deg C by 2050 without any limitations on carbon dioxide concentration on particles per million (PPM) was “acceptable”.
“Africa will burn like a furnance if two degrees is allowed,” Aping said at a ministerial consultation. Ramesh later said the “hard work” of bringing the developing world together was coming apart.
The Association of Small Island Nations also opposes India on its stand. The island nations, predicted to be the first to go under if global warming accelerates, are winning popular support in Copenhagen.
The stand of the poorer countries comes a day after they accused countries like India and Brazil of deciding negotiations on their behalf. With three days left, the latest split makes hopes of even a common political statement difficult, let alone a treaty. The seven drafts will be discussed at ministerial consultations that started on Wednesday.
“We expect good progress on these issues,” said Danish Environment minister Connie Hedegaard. She acknowledged agreement is only expected on technology and adaptation drafts, which consider smaller technical issues linked to lessening climate-change effects in different sectors.
India’s proposal of holding the global-temperature rise to 2 deg C would mean carbon emissions can go to 550 particles per million (ppm) from the present level of 430 ppm. Agreeing to 1.5 deg C would mean restricting emissions to 450 ppm. That means developing nations like India and China must cut emissions.
“Such a situation is not acceptable to us,” Chinese chief negotiator Qingtai Yu told Hindustan Times. “We have a right to increase our emissions forsustainable growth.”
Ramesh agreed with the Chinese, and for the first time, sought a 40 per cent emission-reduction from rich countries from their 1990 levels. The offer of the rich: 4 to 25 per cent reduction by 2020, which India and China refuse to accept.
On Monday, 53 African countries had stalled negotiations, accusing the Danish government (the organiser of the summit) of holding talk with only 48 ministers in advance ahead of states meeting on Dec 17-18.
“Forty eight countries cannot represent our aspirations,” said Algerian diplomat and Africa representative Kamal Djemonai. It is a view increasingly being voiced by many countries, with Bolivia’s chief climate negotiator Angelica Navarro saying smaller nations are told at the last minute of even sudden room changes, so they must sit at the back.
Navarro accused more powerful countries of using what she called “WTO (World Trade Organisation) tactics” of an “exclusive and untransparent” process. That view was echoed by diplomats from Phillipines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
“We (Sri Lanka) chair SAARC nations but here we are not being heard,” said Palitha TB Kohona, permanent representative of Sri Lanka to the UN. Danish Environment minister Connie Hedegaard, could not be reached for comment, but her office said smaller discussions were only meant to speed the negotiating process and no slight was intended.