Cancun progress "crucial", EU commissioner says
It will be "crucial" for world powers to make progress on some of the thorniest questions of climate change at talks in the Mexican city of Cancun if there is to be any hope of a future deal, the European Union's climate commissioner said Monday, DPA reported.
The EU was ruthlessly sidelined by the United States and developing powers at climate talks in Copenhagen a year ago. Those talks were widely derided as a failure, and analysts warn that a repeat of that experience could torpedo global talks for good.
"It's crucial for the international community to prove that Cancun can deliver progress: if not, I fear that some parties would lose patience in the UN process," Connie Hedegaard told reporters in Brussels before departing for Mexico.
Hedegaard led much of the Copenhagen talks in her previous role as Denmark's climate minister, and is to represent the EU in Cancun.
The bloc will be pushing for agreement on issues such as how to help the poorest states adapt to climate change, how to share climate-friendly technology with developing nations and how to reform the world's various emissions-trading schemes, she said.
The EU also wants to see progress on the question of how to check the reports which individual states make of their greenhouse-gas emissions - something which China, in particular, opposes.
"It's very crucial, because that is where the transparency lies," Hedegaard said.
The EU has already passed into law its own climate-change goals, leaving it with few negotiating chips in the international talks.
However, Hedegaard warned that the bloc could walk away from an extension of the current UN climate-change regime, the Kyoto Protocol, if other states do not sign up to their own climate cuts.
Such a move would be purely symbolic, since the EU's legislation already goes well beyond what a Kyoto extension would imply.
"We do not mind Kyoto, but we do mind if we are the only ones committed to Kyoto ... If we take (a Kyoto extension) unconditionally, others could lean back and relax, and that is not what the planet deserves," Hedegaard said.
The Cancun talks are due to run until December 10. EU officials say that the best-case outcome would be an agreement on some of the technical issues, with no expectation of an overall deal until a meeting at the end of 2011 in South Africa, if at all.