On the day United Nations reported an emission gap of five to nine gegatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent to limit temperature rise by two degree Celsius, an alternative to Kyoto Protocol was included in a UN draft text for negotiations.
The proposal of island nations to make long term cooperative action (LCA) on climate change a binding agreement on emission reduction would mean death of Kyoto Protocol, where only rich nations have to reduce emissions and the developing world has to take non-binding voluntary mitigation actions.
"There cannot be two binding agreements at the same time," said a negotiator. If that happens most rich countries will move to LCA and junk Kyoto Protocol, which Japan, Australia and Canda have been demanding. LCA was initially conceived as an agreement for capacity building, finance and technology transfer, which are not covered under the Kyoto Protocol.
Although the new text on ad-hoc working group on LCA says that the legally binding instrument would be applicable only to the developed countries as in Kyoto Protocol but India and China fear that similar dispensation can be brought for the developing countries in future draft texts. "It is just a beginning," a negotiator said.
The move can stalemate the negotiations as India, China, Brazil and South Africa had described no second commitment period for the protocol as non-negotiable. The Basic group sees the proposal as return of Danish proposal floated before the Copenhagen conference in 2009, which also spoke of alternative binding agreement to Kyoto.
The proposal had created a divide in the developing world with Least Developed Countries led by Bangladesh backing the proposal. "We associate with the proposal to initiate a constructive discussion on a legally binding form under LCA," said Bangladesh environment minister Hasan Mahmud. The African countries is also said to be backing the proposal.
Hours after the drafts was released, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released a scientific report literally backing the proposal saying unless all nations take mitigation commitments temperature rise cannot be restricted below two degree Celsius.
"There is a gap of about 40 percent if the commitments made in the Copenhagen Accord are considered," said UNEP head Achim Stiener. "If only the lowest ambition pledges are implemented, and if no clear rules are set in the negotiations emissions would be 53 gegatonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2020." To restrict the temperature by two degree celsius, emissions should not be more than 44 Gt of CO2 equivalent.
The report released in presence of Dessima Williams, ambassador for island nations, exhorted the developed world to higher their emission reduction pledges and asked the developing world to voluntarily commit emission reductions.
Indian Environment minister Jairam Ramesh's found elements of his proposal on international consultation and analysis (ICA) -- a proposed transparency mechanism -- in another LCA draft released for mitigation actions by the developed countries. One specific issue included was that countries, which have annual emissions more than one percent of the global average will have to reported green house emission inventory once in two years.
India has also outlined its redlines for the Cancun summit with an internal note stating that it will not agree to any further dialogue on transparency regarding how to meet mitigation actions unless the rich world moves on finance. This comes after Ramesh has been accused of deviating from India's stated position on transparency -- no verification of financially unaided voluntary emission control actions.