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Saturday , December 12 , 2009
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All-seasons card at climate talks
- Bid to end Copenhagen gridlock with ‘synthesis’ draft

New Delhi, Dec. 11: A six-page draft text for a possible climate accord emerged at the Copenhagen conference today, marking a fresh attempt to steer the world away from months of deadlocked negotiations.

The draft, pencilled by a group of negotiators, lists multiple possible actions that could be taken by industrialised and developing countries to mitigate climate change, but leaves ample scope for intense negotiations in the days to come.

The draft text from the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Co-operative Action —one of two tracks of negotiations at the UN climate-change conference — has synthesised several proposals, observers at the conference said. The multiple options, placed in brackets, imply that key issues still need to be resolved.

“We’ve seen sharp differences surface this past week,” said Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the scientific body whose findings form the basis for planning action to prevent global warming.

“But there’s also a strong sense of involvement, there’s a lot of pressure for action,” Pachauri told The Telegraph. “Talks don’t happen linearly. I’m hoping things will fall into place the coming week.”

The text from the Ad Hoc group proposes differential sets of actions for industrialised and developing countries in line with the Kyoto Protocol.

“This could streamline future negotiations. It appears balanced because it takes into account submissions by various groups,” said Krishnaswamy Srinivas, a senior policy adviser to Greenpeace.

The draft, for instance, proposes actions to limit the average global temperature rise either by 2°C or 1.5°C, highlighting the 1.5°C demand from small island states that are at the highest risk from rising sea levels.

It also asks industrialised countries to take on legally binding emission reduction targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 to 40 per cent — in the order 30 or 40 or 45 per cent — from 1990 levels by 2020. This is higher than what has been pledged by industrialised countries.

Calculations by the non-government Ecofys and Climate Analytics indicate that the industrialised countries’ emission reductions are likely to be only 12 per cent by 2020 after taking into account credits for forestry, environmental groups say.

The text proposes that the mitigation actions by developing countries aim to achieve a “substantial deviation in emissions” — in the range of 15 to 30 per cent by 2020 — relative to emissions that would occur without such actions. Indian negotiators said they were studying the draft text.

A climate policy analyst said the negotiators were likely to closely examine the implications of a proposal for developing countries to “record” their voluntary domestic actions in a “registry” or in a “national schedule”.

The Indian government has indicated it would not allow its domestic actions that have not been supported with international finance to be open to any kind of international review.

But the draft also suggests that information on mitigation actions by developing countries may be “considered” in a “review or consultative” process under the international climate-change convention.

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