M A I N   N E W S

Glimmer of hope as talks resume
Betwa Sharma

Copenhagen, December 17
A glimmer of hope on a political statement at the climate talks here emerged today with the resumption of “two-track” negotiations here after India and other emerging economies attacked a group of developed nations for working on a “secret document”.

Hours after the talks appeared to be floundering, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said the negotiations had resumed on the two-track process, even as he hailed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement on a $100 billion annual financing fund as a “very important step”.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama will join around 110 world leaders tomorrow in the last day of the 12-day crucial summit, as negotiators worked to stitch a possible deal to combat global warming.

“I think one good thing happened today, the negotiations have resumed on the two-track process. I think the sustained pressure brought to bear by the developing countries has paid off,” he said.

With the both developing and developed countries sticking to their known stands, the long-winding negotiations faltered a bit triggering fears of a complete collapse.

He said India has a 75 per cent agreement with the US on “transparency” while 25 per cent disagreement on “Monitoring, Reporting and Verification”.

Ramesh had earlier said that a group of developed nations led by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown were working out a secret document, which they intended to throw up as a surprise at the heads of state level talks tomorrow.

The talks were deadlocked as developed and the developing world refusing to budge from their positions on carbon emissions cuts.

Ramesh had said the developing countries had not been consulted and the host Denmark’s reluctance to reveal anything on that process was “most baffling” and “mischievous”.

The BASIC countries and G-77 met Danish Prime Minister Lars Loke Rassmussen, who assured them that all further discussions would be transparent, based on consensus and there would be no surprises.

Meanwhile, in a meeting between G77 and China and Rasmussen, President of COP 15 (Conference of Parties), all parties agreed the two texts of Long Term Cooperative Action (LCA) and the Kyoto Protocol (KP) will form the only basis for negotiations and there is no other text in the picture.

Any political message in the form of a statement and declaration will also be based on these two texts, they said.

Seeking to give an impetus to the faltering talks, Clinton said US will mobilise $100 billion yearly till 2020 if developing countries agree to “transparency” in national commitments. She also accused emerging economies of “backing away” from making their climate actions open to scrutiny.

Reacting to the statement, Ramesh said: “We welcome the announcement of Hillary Clinton. It demonstrates seriousness on the part of the Americans to recognise the finance as a crucial element of climate change,” he said.

He said while he was yet to see the exact text of Clinton’s announcement, it was “undoubtedly.. a very important step and very important announcement by the United States”.

Following the meeting of G-77 and China, the Chinese Vice Minister of National Development, Xie Zhenhua, told PTI: “No other text exists,” adding that any “outcome paper” would be based on the texts of LCA and KP.

Rasmussen told the meeting, which included ministers from India, China, Brazil and South Africa (BASIC), Alliance of Small Island States and the African Group that work needed to be pursued expeditiously as the clock was ticking.

Earlier in the day, the UN Climate Change chief Yvo de Boer visited the G77 meeting for the first time and suggested forming two working groups to review the progress on the two texts, which met with approval.

In a news-conference, de Boer told journalists that things were moving again.

Shortly after that, in separate meetings convened to discuss the KP an LCA, the Danish Prime Minister formed two contact groups and urged negotiators to remove the brackets in the text, which means heavy negotiations that will go on to the early hours of the morning on Friday.

The COP president expressed support for a balanced package between the KP and the LCA, a much needed reassurance after the recent suspicions by the G77 that the developed countries were trying to “kill” the Kyoto Protocol.

The overall climate negotiations are moving under two tracks - the first track is LCA under Bali Action Plan that requires parties to produce a legally binding treaty before the first commitment period of Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012.

The second track is the extension of the Kyoto Protocol into the second commitment period from 2013 to 2018. — PTI 




Trolley hits PM’s plane, probe ordered
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 17
A high-level inquiry has been ordered into the mishap involving the special aircraft of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the technical area of the airport here and the driver of a loader van suspended. A hydraulic trolley carrying food items hit the cargo door of the aircraft, causing a minor damage. Neither the Prime Minister nor any other passenger was on board the aircraft.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, who rushed to the airport on learning about the incident, said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Air-India would conduct an inquiry. He said preliminary inquiry had found that the Air-India loader was operating the hydraulic lift carrying food items that hit the cargo door of the Air-India Boeing 747-400.

“Let the full inquiry report come. Then we will know whether there is anything mala fide intention behind this,” he said, adding that the loader had good experience of having done work relating to several VVIP aircraft.

A standby Air-India aircraft of the same class was ready that finally took off with the Prime Minister and his official entourage around 5.45 pm. 



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