Rumours circulate at Cancún of plan to scrap Kyoto


RUMOURS OF a secret Mexican text that would essentially replace the Kyoto Protocol with the loose Copenhagen Accord are circulating at the UN climate change conference in Cancún, Mexico.

Some observers expect the Mexican presidency to present the secret text to ministers as early as this evening, well in advance of the conference’s “high-level segment”, which is due to start next week.

Civil society advocates responded to the rumors by demanding that delegates reject any attempts to introduce such a text into the conference, arguing that it would pave the way for dangerous levels of global warming.

Replacing the aggregate global emission targets that are supposed to be negotiated under a second phase of Kyoto with Copenhagen’s non-binding pledges could pave the way for as much as 5°C of warming by 2100, according to a recent UN analysis.

“There is a clear way that UN negotiations work and succeed,” said Chee Yoke Ling of the Third World Network.

“Without a fair process we will never see a fair outcome. We must not let Cancún repeat Copenhagen.”

Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International, said: “The only way to avoid wholly unacceptable climate change impacts is to set aggregate, science-based emission reduction targets, and then to allocate them between countries in a just way.

“That was agreed to under the Kyoto Protocol negotiations. Replacing the Kyoto Protocol with a pledge-based system along the lines of the Copenhagen Accord would be devastating to the climate and the world’s people. It would be unjust and unacceptable.”

Sivan Kartha, senior scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute, said. “Even a three degree world would condemn millions of the world’s poorest people to a devastating future of hunger, weather disasters and increased conflict.

“Entrenching the Copenhagen Accord exposes us to those risks, and even much worse. As much as five degrees of warming could occur, according to research just released by the UN Environment Programme.

“I wouldn’t think that the Mexican government would want to be responsible for establishing the system that locks in dangerous climate change rather than stops it.”

Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth activists built snowmen in the grounds of the Custom House in Dublin yesterday to demand that Minister for the Environment John Gormley delivers the Government’s promised climate Bill before leaving office.