- Title: DENMARK: U.N. climate talks stall after African protest over Kyoto
- Date: 15th December 2009
- Summary: COPENHAGEN, DENMARK (DECEMBER 14, 2009) (POOL) WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) YVO DE BOER, HEAD OF UN CLIMATE CHANGE SECRETARIAT, SAYING "I think this is not just an African concern. I think that the vast majority of countries here want to see a continuation of the Kyoto Protocol. And in fact when these open-ended informal consultations I referred to start in about half hour, they're going to start by focusing on the Kyoto Protocol." JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) YVO DE BOER, HEAD OF UN CLIMATE CHANGE SECRETARIAT, SAYING "And I think events like that are a huge encouragement to leaders to come to Copenhagen not to talk but to act and to sign a robust agreement at the end of this session. Where are we on the journey up the mountain? I think we're about halfway, I think we're queuing up for the cable car and the rest of the ride is going to be fast, smooth and relaxing." VARIOUS WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 30th December 2009 12:00
- Location: Denmark
- Country: Denmark
- Topics: International Relations,Environment / Natural World
- Reuters ID: LVA47EREKSBEVSMZA6P05F7LS1BW
- Story Text: The main session of U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen stalled on Monday (December 14) after African nations accused rich countries of trying to kill the existing U.N. Kyoto Protocol.
Talks failed to start as planned at 1030 GMT due to the African protest. The session was to seek ways to end deadlock on core issues, four days before about 110 world leaders aim to agree a new climate deal to limit global warming that scientists say will bring more heatwaves, floods and rising sea levels.
Yvo de Boer, head of UN Climate Change Secretariat, said an informal consultation was due to begin to address the African nations concerns.
African nations accused rich nations of trying to kill the U.N.'s existing Kyoto Protocol for cutting greenhouse gases. They said the outline of the talks planned on Monday would sideline their concerns.
De Boer predicted that the negotiations would get back on track in early afternoon.
De Boer said that Danish Minister Connie Hedegaard, presiding at the meeting, would hold talks to appoint environment ministers to try to break deadlock in key areas, such as the depth of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by developed nations by 2020, and cash to help the poor.
"I think this is not just an African concern. I think that the vast majority of countries here want to see a continuation of the Kyoto Protocol. And in fact when these open-ended informal consultations I referred to start in about half hour, they're going to start by focusing on the Kyoto Protocol," De Boer told journalists at a news briefing at the conference venue.
De Boer said protest actions around the conference, which will climax on Thursday (December 17) and Friday (December 18) have driven home a point to leaders.
"And I think events like that are a huge encouragement to leaders to come to Copenhagen not to talk but to act and to sign a robust agreement at the end of this session," De Boer said.
He added that despite the challenges, he is optimistic about the outcome of the meeting.
"Where are we on the journey up the mountain? I think we're about halfway, I think we're queuing up for the cable car and the rest of the ride is going to be fast, smooth and relaxing," he said.
Developed countries are trying to "collapse" the entire 192-nation talks, Kamel Djemouai, an Algerian official who heads the African group, told a news conference.
He said that plans by rich nations "means that we are going to accept the death of the only one legally binding instrument that exists now," referring to Kyoto. Other African delegates also said the rich wanted to "kill Kyoto".
Developing nations want to extend the existing Kyoto Protocol, which obliges rich nations except the United States to cut emissions of greenhouse gases until 2012, and work out a separate new deal for developing nations.
But most rich nations want to merge the 1997 Kyoto Protocol into a new, single accord with obligations for all as part of an assault on global warming.
Most developed nations favour a single track largely because the United States, the number two greenhouse gas emitter behind China, is outside Kyoto. They fear signing up for a new Kyoto while Washington slips away with a less strict regime alongside big developing nations.
Kyoto binds almost 40 industrialised nations to cut emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, by at least 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.
The United States stayed out, reckoning Kyoto would cost too much and wrongly omitted developing nations, but President Barack Obama wants to take part in cutting emissions in a new deal stretching to 2020.
Separately a U.N. report projected that climate change will turn the oceans 150 percent more acidic by 2050, threatening coral reefs that are key refuges and feeding grounds for commercial fish species.
Oceans are turning gradually more acid as they absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activities, it said. The corrosive effect undermines the ability of corals, crabs or lobsters to build protective shells.
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