U.S. Prevails in Climate Talks (at least initially)
The U.S. appeared to have gotten pretty much what it wanted from the negotiatons when the U.N. Climate Change Conference plenary session resumed here in Bali at around 8 am on Saturday morning. Specifically, there is no mention in the text about cutting greenhouse gases (GHG) by between 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 as the Europeans and the developing nations wanted. Instead the preamble reads:
Recognizing that deep cuts in global emissions will be required to achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention and emphasizing the urgency to address climate change as indicated in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
There is a footnote after the word urgency which refers the reader to specific pages of the report by the IPCC Working Group III of the Fourth Assessment Report. (if you're interested see pages 39, 90, and 776.) One finds on those pages emissions reductions scenarios and their projected effects of future temperature increases. By putting it in a footnote, the U.S. hopes to avoid having the reductions transmogrify in subsequent negotiations into firm targets.
It also initially appeared that the U.S. had succeeded in getting language into the text implying that developing countries should also undertake GHG emissions cuts. To wit:
Enhanced national and international action on mitigation of climate change, including, inter alia, consideration of:…
Measurable, reportable and verifiable nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing country Parties in the context of sustainable development, supported by technology and enabled by financing and capacity-building.
However, when the text was presented in the Plenary session, the representative from India stood up to object saying that his country would prefer a text that read:
…Nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing country Parties in the context of sustainable development, supported by technology and enabled by financing and capacity-building in a measurable, auditable, and verifiable manner.
Note the difference–instead of putting the burden on developing countries to commit to emissions cuts, the new version puts the burden on developed countries to commit to supplying climate change technologies and financing to developing countries–and they don't mean by markets and trade. At that point the Plenary was suspended for further negotiations.
An hour and half later, the president of the Conference, Rachmat Witoelar, tried to begin the meeting. The Chinese, Indian ,and Pakistani delegations objected that negotiations were still going on outside the hall. The Chinese delegate angrily asked, "Whose COP is is this?" and demanded an apology from the president for starting the meeting. The implication was that it is being hijacked by the rich countries.
President Witoelar then suspended the meeting again. We're all waiting to see what happens next. I must leave the Convention Hall in half an hour, so I may not get to report live on the diplomatic endgame.