climate-change-conference-in-durban.jpgThe United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa entered its second day with reports saying that a number of Annex One countries such as Canada, Russia and Japan are going to formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol.

The reports of Canada, Russia and Japan’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol have been seen as an unacceptable breach of trust in the global talks by the developed countries considering that the world has now recognised the urgent need for meaningful action on climate change including a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Delegates from Southern Africa, including Zimbabwe, said the secret plan by Canada, Russia and Japan to abandon the Kyoto Protocol clearly shows that they are negotiating in bad faith at the on-going conference.

Australia and Norway are calling for a new climate change framework that builds on the Cancun agreements as a foundation for future action.

The two countries would want a new legally binding agreement capturing mitigation targets and actions for both developed and developing countries.

This would mean that fast growing and emerging economies such as South Africa, India and China, among others will have to meet emission targets.

This is also not in line with the principles of the Climate Change Convention, including the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities of equity and justice.

This also goes against the Bali Convention which stressed that the extend of mitigation actions by developing countries should be matched by support in the areas of finance, technology transfer and capacity building by developed countries.

The United States of America, which is not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol is pushing for a voluntary system of emission reduction which is not backed by science because targets in the first commitment period were based on the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) science report.

The revelation of the plan to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol comes at a time when Argentina chairs the G77, while China in its opening statement reaffirmed the need for a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, calling for a higher level of ambition by Annex 1 parties or developed countries.

Venezuela condemned the selfishness of predatory economies that are destroying the existing climate regime to replace it with a voluntary approach that will destroy the planet.

climate change conference durban.jpgMeanwhile, climate change negotiations are continuing in Durban with developing countries fighting to salvage the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol to which industrialised countries agreed to reduce their overall emissions of six green house gases by an average of 5,2% below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012 and should therefore agree to second commitment under the protocol 2013 to 2017.

Director for Environment in the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management, Mr. Irvine Kunene said this year’s 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) is particularly special as it will endeavour to achieve a conclusion of the climate change issues that could not be concluded in Copenhagen, Cancun and Mexico as well as operationalise the agreements that were adopted in Cancun last year.

He said the conference will also reaffirm the climate change regime which is anchored by the climate change convention and the Kyoto Protocol.

Mr. Kunene said the 16th Conference of Parties (COP16) in Cancun failed to agree on the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and concrete resolutions on issues of climate change mitigation as well as adaptation funds for developing countries.

A number of celebrities and important world figures are reportedly expected to grace the UN climate talks, among them Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio.