It is coming out in the open now. Most developed countries have made it evident that they are very uncomfortable with the Kyoto and Bali Action Plan architecture and would prefer a new legal instrument.
About the meeting with Pershing, it was an informal interaction and they did not allow me to record it. They said that US is developing its position on most of the issues and thus they cannot comment officially as of now. But to give you the details I asked Pershing about the new Waxman-Markey draft on clean energy and whether by the amount of offsets it allows it will send a right signal? He said that first of all the Bill was at a draft stage and that there are still a few hurdles to cross. Secondly he said that it to meet the needs of US states and companies while the US develops the sectoral mechanism. He said who could not comment on the offsets and that I should put that question directly to Waxman who had drafted the bill.
Then I had asked him about his views on Kyoto and whether they will consider joining it. He said that US will not join the Kyoto Protocol because it does not work for them politically. We are looking at another deal which we can sign.
On issues like developed countries targets, adaptation and technology transfer he replied that the administration was still working on the US policy. He also said that US was having bilaterals with lot of developing countries to understand their positions and needs. He also emphasised that all developing countries cannot be clubbed together. On bilateral with India he said that Indian national plan seemed encouraging and US wanted to know more about it.
Earlier US had a briefing session with the NGOs which I also attended. There also Pershing talked and made quite a few comments. Here they are:
On US’s role:
We are back and we will be engaging. There is a great deal of diversity in discussions and very little convergence. Globally people are not ready to move yet. US can only do a piece of it (reductions). Even if you take into account our cumulative emissions over the last 50 years we are less than half of the global total. There is currently a rift in the conversation happening in AWG-KP and AWG-LCA.
We will not sign it. We need other parties at the table to work out another agreement. We are interested in various mechanisms under Kyoto like those dealing with forestry and reporting ideas. But Kyoto architecture is very complex. The conversation taking place in AWG-LCA seems useful. If we add up what is on the table it is not enough. We are seeking to re-convene the major economies. We could end up with a new agreement carrying forward mechanisms from Kyoto.
On distinction in developing countries:
There are three different kinds of developing countries. There are LDCs who have suggested that there needs are pretty immediate. Some of these demands can be met through aid. Then there are very large countries who may not be close to developed countries in terms of income but are capable of doing a lot. China is spending the largest sum on economic recovery in the world and Korea the largest percentage. It is hard for me to argue that China and Korea need aid. There are a very large number of developing countries somewhere in the middle. The idea that there is a single common thread in developing countries does not work. There are three different kinds of countries. You cannot say I cannot now. It does not work for you. Certainly larger developing countries need to do more.
On the philosophy and principles of Kyoto (equity and common but differentiated responsibilities)