Gloom in the air on final day at Bangkok

October 08, 2009, Bangkok
The atmosphere of doom prevails.

As was evident after the G77 press briefing, developing countries are extremely upset with the developments in Bangkok. With less than a day to go now all talks have shifted to what would happen in Barcelona.

It is clear that the political will and the message to move forward are missing in the developed countries’ delegations. As Sudanese ambassador Lumumba said today, it seems there is a no dialogues happening between the developed countries’ negotiating teams and their political masters back home. “It seems as if the generals do not trust their troops down here in Bangkok,” Lumumba commented.

It is also clear that the start of Copenhagen talks would not see finalisation of an outcome. Any outcome might be stretched till the last night in Copenhagen. “Prospects of success at Copenhagen have dimmed after this Bangkok meeting,” said Martin Khor, executive director of the South Centre, an intergovernmental organisation of developing countries.

Bangkok was supposed to be a major milestone in the run-up to Copenhagen, but the existing problems still persist. Worse still, a fresh set of problems has emerged.

Following the US model, most other developed countries are slowly moving away from internationally binding emissions reduction targets, towards the option of domestic legislation and targets. The effort is to enshrine these into a new treaty.

“Many developed countries are jumping ship from KP to this new model. EU may also jump ship. If all developed countries leave the KP we may be left with an empty shell. You may say we are not killing the Kyoto protocol, but if it does not have internationally binding targets, it is of no use. It may be replaced with something very inferior,” Khor said today.

This is nothing but slow dismantling of an internationally binding agreement. National targets cannot be treated the same as commitments made under the Kyoto protocol. “The developed countries need to rise to the challenge rather than race to the bottom with the US,” Lumumba said.

The current commitments made by a few developed countries and blocks remain well below the levels, which science says are required. And over the last few days here, most developed countries have dropped out of making second phase reduction commitments.

We are ready to close talks here in Bangkok with much lesser hope of an ambitious and equitable outcome in Copenhagen.


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