As nations gather in Copenhagen to work out a treaty on climate change, a top UN official has said extension of the Kyoto Protocol into a second commitment period represents the will of a majority of countries, who also want a "prompt start" to financing of clean technologies.
"I think the vast majority of countries present in these negotiations have made it very clear that they want to see a continuation of the Kyoto Protocol," Yvo de Boer told reporters in Copenhagen on the eve of the beginning of the climate summit.
"Secondly that they (majority of nations) want to build an approach under the convention that encompasses the United States, that allows for prompt start of financing and that engages developing countries now," he added.
Chairperson of Ad Hoc Working group on Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP), John Ashe said parallel negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol are being carried on at the conference and will be wrapped on December 15 after which a report will be presented.
"Our primary focus is to come up with a second commitment period that will begin on the first of January 2013," Ashe said, adding "We're currently looking at whether or not we need to add more gases."
The first commitment period of Kyoto Protocol under which industrialised nations are obligated to legally binding carbon emission cuts, ends on December 31, 2012 and negotiations are being conducted to extend it to its second commitment period. The AWG-KP is also negotiating other aspects of climate change including the Clean Development Mechanism, Land Use Change and Basket of Gases.
Highlighting that Kyoto Protocol did not have an "expiry date", Boer said the international community did not have to choose between a new Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.
"I think we're going to see an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, a new treaty under the convention, and I think we're going to see a set of practical decisions that will start the day this conference ends," he said.
The overall climate negotiations are moving under two tracks, the first is under Bali Action Plan that requires parties to produce a legally binding treaty before first commitment period of Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012.
The second track is extension of Kyoto Protocol, the only treaty under which industrialised nations have signed on to legally binding carbon emission cuts. The Indian delegation here reiterated its position that any commitments made in the second commitment period must be adequate and reflect at least 40 per cent reduction targets.