As new reports highlighted devastating impact of climate change and record increase in global warming causing carbon emissions, the divide between the developed and developing nations became apparent as global climate talks kick-started in Durban on Monday.
At the onset of conference coined as ‘Momentum of Change’, South African President Jacob Zuma pointed out to climate impacts and United Nations climate convention’s executive secretary Christiana Figueres sought money for the developing world to adapt.
The centre stage for talks will remain second commitment period for existing climate treaty Kyoto Protocol, a pro-poor instrument being sought by India and China. Europe on the fact of it supports Kyoto but has been trying to dilute it basic framework of rich nations having to pay for climate mitigation in the developing world.
Europe’s climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard in a newspaper article on Monday said she backs Kyoto but added that second commitment period would not help as it will cover only 16% of the global carbon emissions. Primarily, because biggest emitters United States, Canada, Japan and Australia would not be part of Kyoto in future.
Hedegaard wanted India and China to agree for mandatory emission cuts under the new Kyoto like regime, a suggested out-rightly rejected. India believes agreeing to any binding emission cuts at this stage will mean compromising with economic growth and depriving country’s 400 million poor from right to energy and basic level of living.
“Rich nations now cannot do away with their historical responsibility towards emission mitigation,” was environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan’s reaction. Natarajan, who has claimed that India has already given two much in climate talks to rich nations, is expected to take a tough stand in Durban.
India has ruled out any legally binding climate treaty, which turns its voluntary commitments into mandatory, mandatory emission cuts and peaking year for its emissions. Rather, India will seek quick money and technology transfer to the developing world, higher emission cut pledge from the developed world and equity in climate talks.
With a huge divide between development and developing nations, even a framework of new climate treaty is not expected at Durban. Figueres expects the Technology Mechanism and the Adaptation Committee agreed in Cancun could be completed in Durban. “And in Durban, the first phase of the design of the Green Climate Fund can be approved, as a major step on the road towards better supported climate action.”