Summit goes into extra time

Leaders stay back to end stalemate after tough talk by Singh, Wen

Summit goes into extra time


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was scheduled to leave the Danish capital by early evening, was back at the conference venue like President Barack Obama, delaying their return home.

They altered their travel plans as UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon gave a call to world leaders to defer their departures by a day.

Late in the day emerged a fresh draft that spoke of bringing back the December 2010 deadline for hammering out a legally binding treaty on fighting global warming. But countries like India and China were pushing for continuation of the Kyoto Protocol that obliges developed countries to take major emission cuts within a time-frame.
It is understood that the Australians, the French and the Danish have sought a review of the whole process in 2016, which effectively would amount to killing the Protocol.
Addressing the high-level segment of the summit, Singh said the Kyoto Protocol should continue to stand as a valid legal instrument. Parties to the Protocol should deliver on their solemn commitments under it, he said.

“It would go against international public opinion if we acquiesce in its replacement by a new and weaker set of commitments,” he said.
However, Singh was frank enough not to place too much hopes when he said the outcome of the summit may well fall short of expectations.
Back at the conference venue, the prime minister went into a huddle with leaders of Brazil, South Africa and China, who form the BASIC group, for working out a strategy before going to the plenary.

There were indications that PM’s special envoy on climate change Shyam Saran could stay behind in case negotiations drag on. President Obama was involved in hectic talks and had two meetings with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during the day.
Amid receding hopes of a substantive and comprehensive deal, some countries were seeking at least a political document spelling out commitments on emission cuts as well as financing and technology transfer to developing nations.

India and other developing countries were pushing for clear cut legally binding assurances by the developed world on reducing greenhouse gases substantially within a time-frame which should not be far away.

They maintain that since developed countries are the major polluters of environment, they must share the major burden in mitigating the impact of climate change. The developing nations are also pressing for substantive funding from rich nations that should be separately earmarked and not come in the form of overseas development assistance or loans. Some of the drafts in circulation spoke about industrialised countries cutting their greenhouse emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050.


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