Copenhagen outcomes disappoint Sonjica

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pretoria - Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica has expressed disappointment at the outcomes of the climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"Negotiations closed on Saturday without reaching an internationally legally binding agreement, which is disappointing for South Africa who had pushed for a two-track agreement," said Sonjica on Tuesday.

This comes after the conclusion of the two-week long United Nations conference which was attended by 128 heads of state and government.

South Africa had sought for amendments to the Kyoto Protocol setting up a second commitment period, and a legally binding agreement under the convention to bring in the United States (US), bind finance for adaptation and mitigation and, in return, allow some developing countries to commit to actions on mitigation, with support.

Sonjica said that in Copenhagen, parties were still too far apart to reach agreements. The exclusion of Latin American Bolivarian countries from the talks did not help. "Latin America has for years not co-ordinated the region effectively," she said.

At the conclusion of the conference, a total of 28 nations including South Africa signed a political agreement, meaning that negotiations would continue next year.

It was also agreed as to how to measure internationally, to report and verify developing nations' emission reduction actions of countries like China, India, Brazil, South Africa, India and Mexico would be recorded.

"Actions will be supported by transparently accounted finance $10 billion per year up to 2012 and $100 billion per year by 2020. The long-term finance is still beset by conditionalities, but it is the first time that this scale of money is on the table," said Sonjica.

The minister said, however, that the Copenhagen Accord did not deliver on other issues and that there was a lack of agreement on the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol.

South Africa's attempt to continue the second commitment period was blocked again by the European Union.

"Certainly [the conference] was not the break-through that the world expected and the climate needed. It is weak, in that it is partial, and political rather than legally binding. But with some key issues resolved among world leaders represented should help move forward," she said.