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India resists pressure to go beyond Kyoto Protocol

India resists pressure to go beyond Kyoto Protocol

India opposed any amendment to the Kyoto protocol at the Copenhagen meet on Sunday, even as the EU pushed for an agreement that is "broader" than the 1997 climate change treaty that puts more obligations on developing countries for cutting emissions.

Meanwhile, Police arrested almost 1,000 people among the violent fringes of a mass rally in Copenhagen intended to put pressure on the UN climate summit to take stronger action.

The tiny Pacific island of Tuvalu once again raised the proposal of adding another protocol to the Kyoto Protocol. Developing nations especially India, China, South Africa and Brazil are sticking to a one protocol approach. "Our focus is on heightened implementation of the convention," Vijay Sharma, India's Environment Secretary told the gathered negotiators. "The spotlight is on existing commitments."

Tuvalu is a small island state where people live two meters above sea level and it could be swamped by rising sea levels. Tuvalu's representative Ian Fry requested the minister of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, Connie Hedegaard to immediately form a contact group to consider the proposal for a new protocol that calls for vigorous action on developed countries and emerging economies such as binding cuts and puts less than 1.5 degree limit in warming. President Connie Hedegaard had to suspend the work of the COP following a deadlock on the issue with some nations like Australia and EU supporting it.

Developing nations and oil producing states including India, China and Saudi Arabia have opposed it on the ground that there should not be any detraction from the Kyoto Protocol, which is the only legally binding treaty that imposes legally binding sanctions on industrialised nations excluding the US.

In other developments, India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh with other SAARC members agreed to regularly co-ordinate on tackling the issue of climate change.Members of the Indian delegation have been engaged in closed-door negotiations on the draft proposals put forth by the chairpersons of the two working groups, the ad-hoc working group on Long Term Cooperative Action under the Bali Action plan as well as the working group on the Kyoto Protocol.

India and other nations suspect that Europe's support for a new protocol is also an attempt to weaken the Kyoto Protocol."Several provisions in the draft are inconsistent and obviously in conflict with the convention provisions pertinent to historical responsibility and equity," Sharma said.

"There are articles bracketing the Annex 1 and non-Annex countries and allows Annex 1 to abandon Kyoto, which is not the right message to give at this point of time," he added.The Kyoto Protocol sets binding targets for 37 industrialised countries called Annex 1 countries for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to an average of five percent against 1990 levels over the  five-year period 2008-2012.

However, EU like Tuvalu and Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) have said here that this Copenhagen summit needs to produce a document much stronger than the Kyoto Protocol that neither puts obligations on US nor on emerging economies.

Sweden's environment minister, Andreas Carlgren told reporters, "If we were to end up with an agreement where the only legally binding part would be the Kyoto Protocol then we would not manage to achieve what is needed."

A major portion of this conference is to extend the Kyoto Protocol into its second commitment period starting from 2013 where developed countries have to make cuts will be listed in Annex B, which is a top priority for India and China at this climate meet.

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