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Question of the Day
In a sign of the sensitivity of even voluntary pledges, the U.S. and China were squabbling in Cancun over an effort to “anchor” them in a fresh U.N. document. The Chinese want separate listings to maintain a distinction between developing and developed countries, and the Americans want a single integrated list.
Japan, meanwhile, has resisted language that would commit it to a second period of Kyoto-style emissions reductions beyond 2012.
Yamada said the 37 industrialized countries that ratified Kyoto now account for only 27 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s time for others _ the U.S. and China included _ to join in mandatory cutbacks, he said.
“For an ultimate goal, we are aiming for a single legally binding instrument, in which all major emitters participate,” the Japanese negotiator told reporters.
The European Union, meanwhile, joined with small island states and Costa Rica in proposing that parties commit to taking up a “legally binding instrument” at next year’s climate conference in Durban, South Africa.
The U.S. delegation also seeks detailed provisions for monitoring, reporting and verification, called “MRV,” of how China and other developing nations are fulfilling their voluntary Copenhagen pledges. A leading environmentalist here accused American negotiators of blocking a decision on the green fund in “the kind of brinkmanship that costs lives.”
“The United States continues to hold these important decisions hostage in an effort to get what they want on transparency and MRV. This is unacceptable,” said Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International.
The green fund would help developing nations buy advanced clean-energy technology to reduce their own emissions, and to adapt to climate change, by building seawalls against rising seas, for example, and upgrading farming practices to compensate for shifting rain patterns. Under the Copenhagen Accord, richer nations promised to provide $100 billion a year for the fund by 2020.
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