Blocking a New Kyoto at CoP 16

Negotiations at the CoP 16 in Cancun have stalled. Opposing views are bringing talks to a stalemate on the final day of talks between the Parties. The major players in causing the deadlock: Japan, Russia (and Belarus), and Canada.

The trouble-making stems from Japan’s refusal to commit to a new Kyoto Protocol, which has thrown the UNFCCC process into disarray. In support of this position, the Russian Federation, Belarus and Canada have taken a similar position. The EU remains the deal-broker and has taken the middle ground between these extreme positions. Negotiations continue as the day goes on.

The negotiation process has proven to be long and tough. On Dec. 9th, weary delegates could be seen walking the corridors of the Moon Palace Hotel, where the high-level meetings of the CoP 16 take place. The overall mood can be categorized as ‘despair’, with seasoned negotiators characterizing some texts as “vague” and other other delegates reporting “very little progress” on important issues.

Yet, as the representatives and ministers felt the day drag on, an increasing number of “informal informals” began to take place. Even though countries were putting forward “strong and divergent positions” on the issue of the new commitment periods and “compromise appears to be aspirational rather than operational in these negotiations”.

Avaaz and TckTckTck ad in the Financial Times, Friday Dec. 10th, 2010

As negotiators attempt to hammer-out a deal, civil-society organizations have taken up a media-based protest. Avaaz and TckTckTck sponsored an advertisement in the Financial Times, identifying Japan as the main blocker towards a fair, ambitious and binding climate treaty. It parodies an iconic poster of “Spirited Away”, the country’s all time, highest grossing film.

“Time is running out for negotiators in Cancun to agree a package of decisions that would give us a basis for a strong climate treaty next year in Durban, and Japan’s hard line position is putting the entire conference at risk”, said Paul Horsman, TckTckTck Campaign Director.

“Millions of people around the world are getting on with taking action on climate change. Japan needs to become part of this and help ensure the survival of people and ecosystems, while realising that a strong climate deal also benefits their own economic development. The country that gave birth to the Kyoto Protocol should not become the one that killed it”, added Horsman.


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