Copenhagen summit: Indian, Chinese PM's could meet informally

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Onboard Air India One (Khajurahao), Dec.18 (ANI): Efforts are on to facilitate an informal meeting between the prime ministers of India and China this morning, with sources in the official entourage saying there is a possibility of a "pull aside" meeting between 7.30 and 7.45 a.m.

Sources also confirmed that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will bemaking a short intervention during the informal Heads of State Plenary, and added that the gist of Dr. Singh's address would be to highlight the importance of preserving areas/issues where developed and developing countries have arrived at a consensus, and to make a commitment to take the negotiation process forward and beyond Copenhagen in areas/ issues where a consensus was yet to be reached.

Commenting on the outcome of the climate meeting here as on Thursday, sources said as of now the discussions are still stalemated, but added that chances of a consensus for taking the negotiations beyond Copenhagen are more brighter than arriving at some sort of a deal or agreement.

They confirmed that reports prepared by chairs of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) and the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) have been submitted to the president of the Conference of Parties-15 (COP-15) i.e. the Danish Prime Minister-but categorically stated the most of the documents "are essentially in brackets". They said the two reports will placed before the conference delegates and the Heads of States for taking what they called a "procedural decision" which would form the basis for continuing negotiations post-Copenhagen.

They said there is a chance for a broad consensus, and it was expectedthat a three-page draft would be placed before the Heads of States, who in turn would deliberate on it, and subsequently issue a communiqué that would essentially state that the negotiations are going to be taken forward.

Referring to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's speech made here on Thursday, the sources said that Brown had pitched for a consensus on four points - (1) That all 192 members countries attending the climate meeting here agree that global temperatures would not go beyond the two degree Celsius mark (2) That developed nations agree to reduce their carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2015, but no mention of targeted figure by 2020 (3) That developing countries commit themselves to fulfilling mitigating emission standards and (4) All countries accept international verification of emission cuts.

On the financial side, the sources said that Brown has advocated thecreation of a Fast Start Fund (FSF) under which 10 billion dollars will be set aside every year for three years between 2010 and 2013 to meet the costs for emission cuts and secondly, a collection of 100 billion dollars between 2010 and 2020, which would acquired through public resources, international financial institution funding and carbon market sources.

Sources said that while the above proposals were welcome, the developing nations bloc have raised questions, notably that there is no mention of the obligations agreed to under the UNFCCC and the Bali Action Plan (BAP), nor is there a mention of the commitments agreed to under the Kyoto Protocol.

"There is no clarity as to what is the way forward. There is no specific mention of targets. A view is being projected by the developed nations that a broad consensus is possible, but major developing countries are preventing it from seeing the light of day and that the latter are not willing to pitch in on the issue of emission cuts or on the issue of international verification of domestic cuts," said a source.

He further said that developed nations are seriously attempting to move away from their agreed commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, which was an international and legally binding document on emission cuts. He said there was a clause in the protocol that clearly states that a country that fails to go through with its agreed emission cut up to 2012, is liable to attract an additional 30 percent penalty of the value of the said cut. There were very strict compliance procedures in the Kyoto Protocol that could not be waived aside by the developed nations, he said.

As far the role of the United States was concerned, the sources said that Washington has signed and ratified the UNFCCC and the BAP, buthas not done so in the case of the Kyoto Protocol. Washington's earlier view was that instead of signing and ratifying the KyotoProtocol, countries could agree to "comparable (emission) commitments, but now, was backtracking and saying that under no circumstances could the United States be subjected to international compliance/procedures, but only international verification.

"The United States has effectively lowered the bar," one source said.

As far as the finance part of Brown's proposal was concerned, the sources said developing countries were of the view that the amountmentioned was "hardly enough" to help lesser developed countries (LDCs) and small island states (SIS) to meet their respective costs for reducing emission standards.

The best one could hope for at Friday's informal Heads of States plenary would be a candid exchange of views, an effort to convince theBASIC bloc and the African bloc to agree to take the negotiation process on climate change into the year 2010. A short communiqué could emerge reaffirming commitment to the UNFCCC and the BAP. By Ashok Dixit (ANI)

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