The expected end game of the international climate talks in Durban is shaping up to be a fierce stand off.
A showdown has emerged between the EU and other parties over their conditions for agreeing to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. The first commitment period will expire in 2012. If it is not renewed the fate of the instruments that support the world’s fragile carbon market is uncertain.
Japan, Russia and Canada have all signaled that they are unwilling to continue with a second commitment of binding emission cuts for the treaty leaving only the EU ready to move forward.
But the conditions the EU has asked for at this meeting to preserve the Kyoto Protocol are steep. In exchange for their commitment they expect everyone else – in particular the other large greenhouse gas emitters like the U.S., China, and India – to begin a roadmap for a process that will create a binding agreement on reducing emissions later in the decade. What we now know as the “mandate” debate has pulled everyone into a discussion over the fate of the Kyoto Protocol — including the U.S., which is not a party to it.