December 22, 2009

UN Chief Urges New Climate Pact After Copenhagen Failings

Amid new diplomatic wrangling over the failure of the Copenhagen summit, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed for world powers to make a new effort to secure a legally binding climate deal next year, AFP reported.

Upon returning to the UN headquarters, Ban acknowledged international disappointment over the summit accord on restraining rising temperatures.

Ban told reporters he was aware that the outcome of the Copenhagen conference, including the Copenhagen Accord, did not go as far as many would have hoped.

"Nonetheless they represent a beginning, an essential beginning. The leaders were united in purpose, but they were not united in action," he added.

Ban urged them to directly engage in achieving a global legally binding climate change treaty in 2010. The UN boss said he would set up a high-level panel on development and climate change early next year.

Leaders of the United States, China, India, Brazil, South Africa and major European nations assembled at the Copenhagen agreement after it became clear the 194-nation summit was in danger of failure.

The summit promised 100 billion dollars for poor nations that risk bearing the brunt of the global warming fallout and set a commitment to limit global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But the outcome has been widely criticized however, with recriminations among many of the participants.

Britain's dispute with China worsened on Tuesday after comments by Britain's climate change minister Ed Miliband alleged that China had blocked a deal in Copenhagen.

China's foreign ministry said Miliband accused China of "escaping obligations and fomenting discord" among developing countries.

China refuted claims made by Miliband in an article in Monday's Guardian newspaper, according to Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu.

He said Miliband wrote that China vetoed attempts to give legal force to the accord reached at the climate summit and that it also blocked an agreement on reductions in global emissions.

Miliband wrote: "We did not get an agreement on 50 percent reductions in global emissions by 2050 or on 80 percent reductions by developed countries. Both were vetoed by China, despite the support of a coalition of developed and the vast majority of developing countries."

China's foreign ministry denied the accusations.

Jiang was quoted saying: "Such an attack was made in order to shirk the obligations of developed countries to their developing counterparts and foment discord among developing countries. But the attempt was doomed to fail."

China stuck out at the summit against pressure to allow international verification of carbon emission cutting efforts.

Meanwhile, Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva blamed the United States for the failure of the talks, saying Obama was not prepared to make sufficient emissions cuts.

Lula said on his weekly radio program that the United States was proposing a reduction of four percent from the date fixed by the Kyoto Protocol (1990) -- which he claimed was, "too little".

Lula added that it led other countries to avoid their commitments to the objectives of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and financial commitments.

Brazil pledged voluntary carbon emission cuts of 36 to 39 percent based on projected 2020 output and urged rich countries to help poorer countries foot the bill. On the other end, Obama did not offer deeper emissions cuts than the United States had already put on the table, or specific figures on how much Washington will pay to bankroll the climate change fight.

The U.S. government said it would not negotiate its offer of curbing U.S. carbon emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 -- less than EU offers but as much as the U.S. political climate could survive at this time.

A new deal will have to wait until the next summit in Mexico City in December 2010, which could come into effect from 2013, after the current Kyoto Protocol expires.


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