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Joelle Westlund - Climate talks end in disappointment

As the COP16 comes to a final close, developing countries have yet to see extended commitments towards the Kyoto Protocol.

Japan has reiterated its position on the future of Kyoto, arguing that China, India and the United States must fulfill their obligations to emission reductions through the signing of a new treaty. In stark contrast, Bolivian President Morales has given an ultimatum: “There are two ways: either capitalism dies or Mother Earth dies.”

World Bank President Robert Zoellick has said that China and India have complicated the bifurcation between rich and poor nations since both countries are developing and responsible for much of today’s global emissions.

India, on the other hand, appears to shifting its position on signing a legally binding agreement to achieve a compromise. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh stated “All countries must make binding commitments in appropriate legal form… I have nuanced our position.”

The proposed “Green Fund” which would gather and distribute funds running to perhaps $100bn per year by 2020, was outright rejected by some developing countries on the basis that it was a ‘western-run’ institution. For highly vulnerable nations, especially island nations, want to see the fund established as soon as possible.

A World Bank report has estimated that the cost of climate adaptation in the developing world would amount to $75-100bn per year. Yet proposals that have been put forward have continuously been dismissed by opposing parties. Perceived ‘western’ proposals, have been the basis for rejection by many developing countries, especially those in Latin America. Other developing countries were not impressed with the hard-line stance that countries like Bolivia have taken.

The negotiations of this annual meeting has been deemed a “zombie process” with a lack of successful outcome and the unwillingness for an effective compromise to be made between developing and developed countries. And while “The new document is strong on acknowledging the scale of the problem, [it] does not commit parties to new measures to curb emissions”, said environment correspondent Richard Black.

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