Senior G77 members protest steps to change Kyoto pact

BANGKOK Wed Oct 7, 2009 7:16am EDT

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BANGKOK (Reuters) - Senior G77 members walked out of a meeting during climate talks in the Thai capital saying they would not discuss a future without the Kyoto Protocol climate pact, delegates said on Wednesday.

South Africa's lead negotiator, China and OPEC countries left the informal session late on Tuesday that was discussing the shape of new climate agreement that would bind all nations in the fight against climate change.

Tensions have been rising during marathon U.N. climate talks in Bangkok that end on Friday over accusations rich nations are trying to kill off Kyoto, which binds 37 industrialized nations to emissions targets during its 2008-12 first commitment period.

The question negotiators are wrestling with is whether to extend Kyoto into a second commitment period from 2013, amend the pact or create a new one, a step many developing nations resist.

"The G77 is extremely concerned with the notion that there is a clear intention being shown that developed countries, who are party to the Kyoto Protocol, of not agreeing to new targets for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol," said Alf Wills, spokesman and lead negotiator for South Africa in the G77 of developing nations.

"The G77 rejects the notion and proposal to collapse or 'cut and paste the good parts of the Kyoto Protocol' (one wonders what the bad parts are) into a new single legal instrument under the Convention," Wills said in an email to Reuters, referring to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Kyoto Protocol falls under the convention.

The United States is not part of Kyoto, failing to ratify it because the pact does not bind big developing nations to emissions targets. The United States is a party to the convention.

Negotiators in Bangkok are trying to find a formula that will bring the United States and developing nations into a framework that commits all nations to curb their emissions to prevent dangerous climate change.

The U.N. has set a December deadline for nations to agree to a broader pact at a major climate meeting in Copenhagen.

"KYOTO HAS NOT DELIVERED"

"When looking at Kyoto, it has all the signs of being legally binding internationally but unfortunately the outcome is that since its entry into force we have seen emissions increase," senior European Commission delegate Karl Falkenberg told reporters.

"So Kyoto has not delivered the substantive results that we want. We can all continue to argue in favor of maintaining Kyoto. We think that's not enough. We need to have a wider participation. We're not convinced we will get this into the Kyoto Protocol as we know it."

A senior developed nation delegate told Reuters it was not possible for rich nations to agree to tougher second phase targets unless all major emitting nations put their emissions reduction pledges into a legally binding global agreement.

"If all we get is a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol, that's all that's on the table, there's no balancing legally binding agreement from developing countries and the United States, then the risk will be that those countries inside the protocol with a commitment will either weaken their commitment, not take a commitment or not ratify."

Greens are worried the debate is distracting the negotiations.

"It's really important for all countries to come out and say yes, we think the Kyoto Protocol and the Kyoto Protocol architecture can and must continue," said Kim Carstensen, who heads conservation group WWF's global climate initiative.

(Additional reporting by Chisa Fujioka)

(Editing by Nick Macfie)

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