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Durban Climate Talks in Tatters

John Vidal and Fiona Harvey with The Guardian describe the latest collection of blowups at the U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa, where negotiators from 194 countries, in their third consecutive round of all-night talks, seem powerless to come to any sort of agreement.

The exchange of grievances is familiar to negotiators and observers. Developing nations, which have not engaged in the industrial practices that pollute the world for as long as developed nations have, are furious over the demands that European countries and the U.S. are attaching to their version of a climate deal, while developed nations insist on emissions reduction standards and other pledges that would leave the developing world in the lurch.

At the time of The Guardian’s report, the talks were in their 36th hour of overtime. –ARK

John Vidal and Fiona Harvey at The Guardian:

Connie Hedegarrd, the EU climate change commissioner, said she was prepared to offer developing countries the prize they had sought for many years – a continuation of the Kyoto protocol, the only treaty that commits rich countries to cut greenhouse gases. But the price of the offer is for all nations to agree to be “legally bound” to a new agreement by 2020. There were cheers as she said: “We need clarity. We need to commit. The EU has shown patience for many years. We are almost ready to be alone in a second commitment period [to the Kyoto protocol] We don’t ask too much of the world that after this second period all countries will be legally bound.”

But the Indian environment minister, Jayanthi Natarajan, responded fiercely: “Am I to write a blank cheque and sign away the livelihoods and sustainability of 1.2 billion Indians, without even knowing what the EU ‘roadmap’ contains? I wonder if this an agenda to shift the blame on to countries who are not responsible [for climate change]. I am told that India will be blamed. Please do not hold us hostage.” As countries clashed in the early hours of the morning, scenes in the conference hall resembled a theatre, with wild applause bursting out sporadically.

… Earlier Venezuela’s ambassador, Claudia Salerno, stood on a chair and banged her nameplate as she accused the UN chair of the session of ignoring the views of some developing countries. Referring to the money promised by rich countries to help developing countries to adapt to climate change, she said: “This agreement will kill off everyone. It is a farce. It is immoral to ask developing countries to sell ourselves for $100bn.”

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