India: Cancun Will Test Climate Talks' Credibility
Author: Matthias Williams
U.N. climate talks in Cancun will be the last chance for nations to agree on thorny issues such as technology transfers and will test the dialogue's credibility, India's environment minister said on Wednesday.
Nations must reach a consensus on sharing green technology between rich and developing countries and resist the temptation to cling to old positions "like a mantra," Jairam Ramesh told a news conference after a two-day climate meeting in New Delhi.
Nations were so divided on intellectual property rights (IPR) for costly technology that some saw it as an essential ingredient of a deal, while others refused to talk about it, he said.
"We have to find a middle path because these two extreme positions have held back an agreement for too long, and frankly we are running out of time," Ramesh said.
"Cancun is the last chance. The credibility of the entire climate change negotiating system is at stake. If you do not get a set of operational and meaningful decisions at Cancun, everybody is going to get sick and tired of us."
Prospects for the November 29-December 10 climate change talks in the Mexican resort of Cancun have dimmed in recent months because of near-deadlock in the 194-nation negotiations over how to share the burden in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Ramesh had earlier hosted a climate meeting in the Indian capital, drawing on delegates from 35 countries including China, the United States, Mexico and the European Union, as well as a host of smaller developing countries.
The focus of the meeting was to push agreement for a mechanism to develop and transfer technology to tackle climate change. The meeting pushed for such a mechanism to be a "key deliverable" at Cancun, a statement said.
Reaching an agreement in Cancun to extend the Kyoto Protocol was a make-or-break issue for developing countries and would determine the outcome of any future discussions, Ramesh said.
Some nations want the Kyoto Protocol extended into a second period, others such as Japan and the United States, which never ratified Kyoto, want a new treaty. Many developing nations back an extension to Kyoto because it enshrines wording that allows poorer nations to take voluntary steps to curb emissions.
Last year's U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen failed in its goal of working out a legally binding treaty.
"We must have a practical approach to solve the problems in front of us and not repeat positions like a mantra," Ramesh said.
(Editing by C.J. Kuncheria)