Noting the failure of the Copenhagen Talks to produce an internationally agreeable climate change treaty, the European Union is looking to push for more concentrated negotiations at the G20 meetings. The EU reportedly feels that taking the G20 route would help iron out the major issues between the developed and developing countries which were one of the major reasons for the shameful failure of COP15.
The G20 includes developed nations like the US and Australia as well as developing countries like India and China could prove crucial to in the formulation of a final framework treaty. Precious time was lost at Copenhagen as a plethora of discussion drafts were presented by various groups of countries. The G20 could prove beneficial in that it could produce a draft treaty formulated by by developed and developing countries which could be signed by the world leaders at COP16 at Mexico City this December.
The European Union probably realizes its mistake of taking the backseat in the run up to the Copenhagen talks. Possible complacency might have crept in as President Obama was looked promising in his efforts to build understanding with the US Congress and countries like China and Brazil. In the end, however, EU found itself alone demanding for ambitious emission reduction targets in the new climate treaty at the COP15 with no support from the United States or any other developed country except Japan.
Year long discussions by climate negotiators from almost 200 countries bore no fruits. Significant achievements in the negotiations was reported from the monthly meetings of the negotiators in the run up to COP15. Till the very end the UN officials were hopeful of striking an ambitious deal based on scientific data and recommendations of the IPCC which projects that a 25-40% reduction would be required for the ceasing the temperature rise to 2°C.
The G20 consists of the major economies of the world which are also the major players in the Clean Development Mechanism thus concentrated negotiations would also result in discussion and implementation of much needed reforms in the CDM. Discussions over exchange of clean technology, which was a major issue at COP15, could also be held at the G20 since the member nations are the major technological contributors. Many industrial clean technologies need to be installed in the developing countries for abatement of carbon emissions and improvement in energy efficiency while low cost technologies of developing countries like the solar lighting and energy generation through biomass have immense potential in the poor countries.
More importantly, the issue of monitoring and verification of voluntary emission reduction measures which almost single-handedly sank the negotiations at COP15 can be discussed, and probably be solved so that no time is wasted at crucial climate meets. The developing countries did not agree to international monitoring of unsupported mitigation measures as they saw it as an attempt to challenge the principles of the Kyoto Protocol which differentiated between the developed and developing countries.
While the G20 offers itself as a great platform for climate change negotiations since members nations were among the most vocal and active at the COP15, the absence of poor and small island nations could endanger a secular and comprehensive draft which fails to address the concerns of the people and countries already facing the adverse impacts of climate change.
Tuvalu’s draft which resulted in the suspension of the discussions was scientifically ideal but could not clear the political hurdles. The developed and developing countries argued over technicalities and numbers while the representatives of the poor countries returned dejected and with empty promises of actions. It is now the responsibility of these nations, which are the major emitters of greenhouse gases and have the adequate financial and technological resources to combat climate change, to resolve their differences and reach to a scientifically correct agreement.
via Associated Press
Image Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images via PicApp
The views presented in the above article are author’s personal views and do not represent those of TERI/TERI University where the author is currently pursuing a Master’s degree.