Frustration Increases For EU At UN Climate Summit

08 December 2011

Alyn Smith, SNP Member of the European Parliament for Scotland, has today (Thursday) expressed his frustration at the lack of progress being made at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, COP17.

Alyn, who is part of the Parliament's Greens/European Free Alliance group, has been in continuous contact with the EU delegation in Durban.

Commenting on the conference, Alyn said:

"It's easy to understand why, on the 11th day of the conference, tempers are flaring over the pace of progress in climate talks taking place, when time is clearly not on our side. Delegates have voiced concerns that no clear progress is being made for bridging divides in the final days of the summit.

"Most nations appear to want a strong deal, however the exceptions remain 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.

"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. One view shared by delegates is that Brazil will move, China might - but India and the US will be tougher.

"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 depends on China's state of development, amongst others.

"Steps need to be taken by the US, India and Brazil as those four together account for nearly half of the world's emissions.

"With two days left to run in the South African city, some experienced delegates said the talks appeared to lack urgency. Let's hope that in the remaining hours, something more concrete starts to emerge."