Fears Kyoto Protocol to be replaced by non-legally binding Copenhagen Accord
As COP16 enters its second and final week observers fear a plan by the Mexican Government will see the Copenhagen Accord replace the Kyoto Protocol.
Copenhagen is more up-to-date but as a non-legally binding agreement packs none of the punch of the Kyoto Protocol, which has been ratified by almost 200 countries.
The protocol was created after COP3 in Japan in 1997 and the Accord came out of Copenhagen only last year.
This morning (December 6) British energy and climate change secretary, Chris Huhne, said he wanted to build on Copenhagen as he prepared for Cancun's second week of talks.
But the minister also pledged to fight for a legally binding agreement, he said: "Over the next few days, we have a chance to build on the commitments made at Copenhagen, and pave the way for an ambitious agreement on climate change.
"The UK's position is clear. We believe a legally binding global deal is not just good for the planet; it also good for its inhabitants.
"We will be stronger and more resilient with a deal than without. And we believe that the negotiations under the UNFCCC are the best way of achieving that deal.
"We do not underestimate the scale of the task. The negotiations are wide-ranging and complex. In their scope and their detail, they are without parallel.
"But the indications are good, already the mood has been cautiously positive. People are talking the show is on the road."
However, Friends of the Earth claimed a 'secret text' from the Mexican presidency, which would effectively begin replacing the Kyoto Protocol with the Copenhagen Accord, might be on the table this week.
The group point to entrenching the Copenhagen Accord could lead to as much as a five degree rise in warming, according to research released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on November 23.
Chair of Friends of the Earth International, Nnimmo Bassey, said: "Replacing the Kyoto Protocol with a system that is pledge-based would sideline 20 years of multilateral negotiation and devastate the climate and the world's people.
"It would be unjust and unacceptable."