Glimmer of Hope in Final Hours of UN Climate Summit

09 December 2011
Alyn Smith, SNP Member of the European Parliament for Scotland, has today (Friday), welcomed the slight progress being made at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, COP17, following a testing few days for delegates.

Commenting on the conference, Alyn said:

"We are now in the last hours of the summit and so I welcome the news that there is still some hope for positive developments following a testing time for those concerned.

"It's easy to understand why, up until the last day of the conference, tempers have been flaring over the pace of progress in climate talks taking place, when time is clearly not on our side. Delegates have been voicing concerns that no clear progress was being made for bridging divides in the final days of the summit. The developments in the recent hours seem to give more reason for hope than those of the first three days, when many reported a very laid back atmosphere, the feeling of emergency seriously lacking.

"Most nations appeared to want a strong deal however the exceptions remained some of the world's most powerful countries, namely the US, China, India and Brazil, who are likely to oppose parts of the solution sought by the EU and the majority of developing countries.

"Yesterday evening, there was an excited buzz when an agreement was found between the EU, Africa and the AOSIS countries (Alliance of Small Island States). Africa now openly supports the roadmap, a move that is very positive for the EU, whose strategy consists of insisting that there
 will not be any continuation of the Kyoto protocol without an agreement on a roadmap leading to a globally legal treaty. There should now be more than 120 countries supporting the roadmap, including Brazil, which also confirmed its support last night.

"The strategy of the EU is now clear: it is hoping that the alliance it has made with the least developing countries will come to fruition and so put pressure on India, China and the US.

"China had been hailed earlier this week as an unusual darling of the climate summit when on Monday, Chinese delegation head Xie Zhenhua created a stir by saying China might be willing to sign a legally binding agreement for reducing emissions, post-2020. Though this is set by conditions: if other countries keep their commitments, and it dependson China's state of development, amongst others.

"The EU is willing to put its existing emission pledges under the Kyoto Protocol, provided that the summit agrees a clear roadmap leading to a new global agreement under which, eventually, every nation's emissions could be regulated, though strong commitment is needed from the key
 players.

"We are now on the last day, though talks may well continue into tomorrow, and event the continuing days. Let's hope, that in the remaining hours, something more concrete starts to emerge."