Still no post-Kyoto plan as climate talks end

The Nairobi climate talks closed with an agreement that greenhouse emissions had to be halved in the coming years, but no concrete timetable for action.

Ministers and negotiators from 92 countries failed to decide what will happen when the Kyoto protocol runs out in 2012, or to set a timetable for negotiating target cuts for that period.

Arriving back at Heathrow after two weeks of negotiations, UK environment minister David Miliband said that “the political institutions at a global level are not yet able on their own to generate the sort of momentum that’s going to be necessary for a global deal” on curbing carbon emissions.

“For that you need leadership from finance ministers and foreign secretaries,” he said.

Negotiators did agree to work on technology transfer to developing countries and to help economic diversification in highly fossil fuel-dependent states.

They also decided that developing countries should take the lead in managing the Adaptation Fund, funded with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). They also agreed to help African countries benefit from the fund, as most money from the fund has so far gone to Asia.

One controversial move was the inclusion of Belarus in Kyoto emission trading mechanisms, in a way that lets it earn carbon credits without actually reducing emissions by cashing in on the fall in emissions during the post-soviet economic decline.

The conference decided to keep the doors of the CDM closed to carbon storage and storage, judging the technologies insufficiently developed to be included as yet.

Environmental groups condemned the slow pace of negotiations: “Whilst we welcome the work that has been made here, we have not seen these talks respond to the reality of the urgency in the real world. The impacts of climate change are becoming more severe,” said Friends of the Earth’s Catherine Pearce.

“The public at large are taking to the streets calling for action. Ministers must step up their efforts to move this Kyoto process forward,” she said.

Parties to Kyoto will conduct a full review of the protocol in two years’ time, the conference decided.

Goska Romanowicz

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