Is the Kyoto Protocol an endangered species?


I am now sitting in the Thursday session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP). Right now the delegates from Argentina and Saudi Arabia are highlighting their concerns about key parts of the Protocol being taken out. In general, there are lots of concerns about valued parts of the Protocol disappearing or being replaced by a watered down version. My friend Andrey from Russia is especially concerned, for example, that nuclear power is redefined as a clean and "sustainable" energy, which the current Protocol does not do.

It is a bit difficult just jumping in and putting the debate into a nutshell. The discussion today takes place in the shadow of the controversy over the leaked Danish text (aka "The Copenhagen Agreement"), which has upset many of the developing country delegates, proposing an approach which ECO (the newsletter of environmental NGOs) described as "neither fair, nor ambitious," much less delivering "on the finance or technology needed in support to developing countries." However, according to the Guardian, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is confident that the process is on a strong track to a deal, despite the "trust issues" raised. However, as Third World Network claimed, "the developing countries are strongly opposed to the 'killing' of the Kyoto Protocol and its replacement by a new agreement which is likely to have much looser disciplines on the developed countries' emission reductions" which would allow them to escape binding international commitments.

"We need to make a lot more progress," the chair says, before adjourning, "in the words of Britney Spears, "give me more, gimme, gimme, gimme more!" I suspect the Danish Prime Minister has probably heard more than enough for the moment.