Today is the first day of the Conference of the Parties talks in Durban. These two-weeks of intensive international talks, which are attempting to strike a global deal on climate change, are the 17th to be run by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. We will be covering the talks daily with live updates on the progress of the talks and what this means for manufacturing in the UK.
In the run up to the talks, many countries put forward their positions. Russia and Japan stated they would not support second Kyoto Protocol commitment period, which would see new legally-binding reduction targets placed on developed nations; the so-called BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) on the other hand (and maybe not surprisingly) welcomed it.
However, now that the talks have just begun, India, China and Brazil seem to now be on the same page as Russia, Japan, Canada and the US and are calling for any negotiations for a second Kyoto commitment period to be delayed until 2015. The call for a delay by Japan and Russia is because they feel rapidly developing nations should have more of a role in an agreement and should not be treated as developing nations (and therefore have no commitment target) any longer. China, India and Brazil however feel there should be ‘reflective phase' and ‘scientific period' from 2012-2015 to understand better what targets need to be set.
Once again we are already starting to see quite a divide in positions – as Europe and developing nations (notably the small island countries) are calling for a new international agreement to be in place by 2015 that includes both developing and rapidly-developing nations.
At EEF we argue that there should only be an agreement that involves all countries in an equitable way. This means rapidly developing nations need to be considered in a new group, one that recognises their increasing contribution to global emissions. China is now the world's biggest emitter. However, we also understand there is a set window for action; alternative approaches to reducing emissions at the global scale must be explored as this impasse is only getting worse.
This will make for some tense talks over the coming fortnight – one that is not necessarily hopeful.