M A I N   N E W S

Special to the tribune
Emotions, despair run high at climate talks
Betwa Sharma in Durban

With only a day to go before the climate change talks conclude, emotions are running high and tempers are flaring among negotiators and ministers of different countries gathered here to decide on the next steps to tackle the global crisis.

The most vulnerable small island nations made a final appeal for more powerful players to reach an agreement for effectively curbing greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet. “It seems to me that there isn’t enough seriousness in these negotiations,” said I J Karl Hood, the Foreign Minister of Grenada. “Why are we are here in Durban…just for vacation?”

Scientists have said that rise of the earth’s temperature needs to be stopped at 2 degree Celsius to prevent devastating future consequences ranging from droughts to floods in different parts of the world. But so far the developed countries have not pledged the required amount of reduction in CO2 needed that will meet this goal.

Ministers from these countries pointed out that they have not contributed to climate change but their countries may completely disappear under rising sea levels.At the same time, they do not have the economic resources to clean up after extreme weather events and degrading coastlines.

“We find ourselves spending millions on cleaning up after flooding,” said Kenneth Darroux, the environment minister of Dominica, an island in the Eastern Caribbean. “We think the time to act is now.” The United States is widely viewed as the villain for blocking the climate talks. The U.S. delegation here has little space to manoeuvre since the Obama administration faces increasing opposition on this front from the Republican Party inside the country.

The European Union used strong words against the U.S. and China, which are the two largest emitters of CO2.

“For the third time this U.N. conference is hijacked by the ping pong game between the United States and China,” said Jo Leinen, chairman of the European Parliament's environment committee. “I think it’s really unacceptable and intolerable.”

The Indian delegation too has been troubled at being perceived as a “stumbling block” in the negotiations. Under pressure, China and India said that they will only consider being part of a treaty after 2020.

In this decade, they insist, developed countries need to act decisively to combat climate change at an international level.

Leinen welcomed some flexibility from China. “I do not see the same commitments or signals from the U.S.,” he said. One is not yet ready and the other is not willing.”

nUS denies delaying deal P15





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |