Nanjing Night Net

G77 plays game of chicken as time runs out

COPENHAGEN: As the climate conference moved towards its climax, with Prince Charles and the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, preparing to speak on the urgency of acting on climate change, inside and outside the giant meeting hall proceedings ground to a halt.With just days left until the deal is supposed to be sealed, there are deeply worrying signs that this will be not be crunch time but cop-out time.Penny Wong and her team of negotiators are clearly frustrated. The walk-out by the G77 nations, led by Sudan but acting as proxy for the big players China, India and Brazil, came to symbolise the game of chicken being played out here. In retaliation, Australia’s negotiators, backed by the European Union and Japan, briefly shut down discussion of rich country targets to cut emissions.For millions around the world watching these talks, the tactics on all sides are difficult to understand. On the one hand, the ministers are proselytising on the threat posed by climate change. Yet inside the meetings the big players are not budging.Australia, the US, Europe and Japan insist the problem lies with China, India and Brazil, and their allies in Africa. These countries will not take on verifiable targets to curb their soaring emissions in a legal treaty, they say. Without this, any cuts by the rich countries will be overwhelmed.The response from China and the G77 is blunt. Rich countries have come to Copenhagen with targets to cut their emissions well below what was promised in Bali and what is needed by science, and with little real money on the table for the long-term battle on climate change.Squashed in between the big players are the poorest and most vulnerable countries, the small island states such as the Maldives and African nations such as Rwanda that are facing catastrophic consequences with even two degrees of warming. These nations have the big powers lobbying them to line up on one side or the other.After testing the limits of brinkmanship on Monday, all sides took a collective deep breath. The European Union Minister of the Environment, Andreas Carlgren, emerged to tell reporters that ”we are really prepared to really discuss all issues in the negotiations”. Wong said Australia was not trying to kill Kyoto. But still, all the developed countries insist they want a deal that brings the big polluters in the developing world into a separate binding treaty and are determined not to sign up to ambitious targets without big movement from China, India and Brazil.With this stand-off continuing, just how much the 120 leaders can do when they arrive is limited. The proposed agreement is still riddled with ”brackets” – spaces left for the contentious details to be inserted.As Marcelo Furtado, the Greenpeace observer from Brazil put it, ”They are still bracketing Mother Earth.”
Nanjing Night Net