The EU's Position Shifts

The EU's Position Shifts

Throughout COP15 the European Union (EU) has advocated a single new agreement to replace Kyoto and to incorporate the commitments in the LCA text. That EU position was thought to find expression in the 'Danish text' that has caused so much anger and delay since the summit opened.

Speaking on 17 December French President Sarkozy said that Kyoto is likely to survive because the G77 and China, the African bloc and AOSIS are unwilling to risk losing the obligations binding developed nations under the protocol. That concern was acknowledged by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer who pointed out that it took 8 years to ratify Kyoto.

Formally, the negotiating texts remain those produced by the working parties on Kyoto (KP) and Long Term Cooperative Action (LCA). With one day left, it is unlikely that a wholly new text 'dropped from the sky' would meet with approval from the plenary. Far more likely is that text on short and medium term financing will be shoehorned into the LCA text, leaving institutional and operative details to be fleshed out in summer 2010 or at the next scheduled COP in Mexico, December 2010.

There were significant signs of movement on 17 December. A financing proposal presented by Ethiopia, together with the intervention of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, seems to have reconciled many African states to a deal based on the 'twin tracks' of KP and LCA.

However, in side meetings delegates, Ministers and Heads of State from vulnerable and developing nations have continued to press for a limit of 1.5 degrees rather than the 2 degree target endorsed by developed nations. At a media briefing in the morning of 17 December the chair of the

African group echoed earlier comments that for Africa 'no deal is better than a bad deal'. The question, then, is whether the financial offers made during the day will be enough to break through that resistance.